I’ve been watching waves of wearables crash across my screen for the past year or so and I haven’t been very excited. Fitness trackers aren’t all that useful for the mobility-impaired, since they’re best at working like enhanced pedometers. If I wanted to wear something around my wrist, I’d wear a watch now — it would be a lot more convenient than pulling out my phone and pressing a button to see the time — but I find them uncomfortable. So what does that leave? I’d be happy with a stretchy wide band that would go around my forearm, I might consider a necklace pendant, I’m open to glasses (especially things than can be added to glasses I already wear), and now, I like the idea of rings.
Techcrunch has a nice writeup on this product, the Nod gesture controller, which was available for pre-order as of yesterday. Some of the hand movements in the video look stilted and awkward, but I was hooked with a thumb movement across the ring that seemed intuitive.
That’s where I think the honey is: gesture controls that feel so natural, they’re what we expect without realizing we expect it. Think of pinching and opening your fingers to zoom on a tablet. It feels natural because that’s how we would stretch physical objects on our fingertips. Swiping is like turning a physical page. Hand wearables feel right to me because they make natural gestures a possibility. The best interfaces don’t require a lot of training or thought, like the Marvel holotables… usually.