The inTouch ring is a wearable device which enables almost instantaneous transfer of files from one mobile screen to another, without any cable connection or download time.
The growth in mobile connectivity, whether in the form of smartphones, tablets, and perhaps in the near future smart watches, has led to an increase in the amount of data being gathered, therefore also intensifying the need to share and exchange it and – in a more general way – raising the whole challenge of data mobility. These days, PCs, tablets and smartphones can often be seen on an office desk being used simultaneously as work tools. But though these devices are all connected to the Internet, actually transferring data between is often time-consuming and relatively inefficient, while Cloud-based services are costly in terms of resources. Up to now the various options for data transfer have been a USB stick, short-range point-to-point connections such as Bluetooth, or through shared services in the Cloud. Now the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland has developed new, lighter, simpler and faster technology called inTouch, which can be incorporated into wearable accessories.
One ring to rule them all…
The Finnish researchers have as yet published very little information on the technical functionality of their invention, for which a patent has just been lodged, but a video posted on YouTube gives the viewer an idea of what can be done with the technology. In physical terms, inTouch comes in the form of a ring, a bracelet or a ‘nail’ – a sensor placed like a sort of thimble on your fingernail – enabling the user to transfer data files – a photo, a video or a URL, for example – between two mobile devices with just two touches. You first touch the screen on the device where you currently have the data you wish to transfer and an icon appears indicating that the data is ready to be loaded on to the inTouch sensor. Loading is almost instantaneous. You then touch the screen of the second mobile device and your data appears on it. The transfer, which includes securing the data, takes place either using the inTouch sensor directly, or via a Cloud-based service, depending on the amount of data to be transferred.
…and in the data bind them
Aside from the technology and gaming aspects afforded by the speed and interactivity of the process, this technological advance, embodied in a widget no bigger than a false fingernail, allows us to imagine what smart objects, interactive devices and products might be just around the corner. As it seems to be able to reduce the physical inconveniences of data transfer – especially equipment hassles – to an absolute minimum, at the same time ensuring that the data is secure, the inTouch technology could well become widespread in both the professional and private spheres for transferring files. The inTouch ring may also have a future as a sort of digital card wallet. The VTT technology could mean that we no longer have to carry a sheaf of cards around with us, but could plug all our personal data into objects whose primary role is not as a data carrier, i.e. something like the ring and bracelet VTT has developed.