At a California Israel Chamber of Commerce demo event yesterday, I got a walk-through of an unusual and, as-pitched, probably hopeless idea for improving the interface of touch-screen devices: The Ringbow, a ring-mounted, wireless pointing stick.
The Ringbow does solve a problem in an elegant way. Touch-screen apps generally have only limited ways to control them, so access to menu commands or secondary functions requires trips to full menus, which slows down the user. The Ringbow is a finger-mounted five-way controller (four compass directions plus pushing down) that makes blasting through accessory menus faster than it would be in most apps.
Also at CICC: Fellowup, the Grandma-approved contact manager
In a demo (see video; note that the wire is for an extra battery pack the prototype device requires), selecting drawing submenu options (color picker, line weight chooser, pen type), and then making selections in those submenus, was much faster than it would otherwise be. Ringbow CEO Efrat Barit proposes that software vendors who make complex graphical apps (such as Adobe) could make their products easier and faster to use for professionals by adding Ringbow shortcuts.
There are also benefits in games, where a ring-mounted controller adds a lot of control options that one otherwise doesn't have in a touch-screen device.