ThermalRing: Gesture and Tag Inputs Enabled by a Thermal Imaging Smart Ring


The heterogeneous and ubiquitous input demands in smart spaces call for an input device that can enable rich and spontaneous interactions. We propose ThermalRing, a thermal imaging smart ring using low-resolution thermal camera for identity-anonymous, illumination-invariant, and power-efficient sensing of both dynamic and static gestures. We also design ThermalTag, thin and passive thermal imageable tags that reflect the heat from the human hand. ThermalTag can be easily made and applied onto everyday objects by users. We develop sensing techniques for three typical input demands:drawing gestures for device pairing, click and slide gestures for device control, and tag scan gestures for quick access. The study results show that ThermalRing can recognize nine drawing gestures with an overall accuracy of 90.9%, detect click gestures with an accuracy of 94.9%, and identify among six ThermalTags with an overall accuracy of 95.0%. Finally, we show the versatility and potential of ThermalRing through various applications.

In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu, USA, Apr 2020.