Georgia Tech researchers have created a device to control text and other mobile applications, according to Georgia Tech University.

The wristband is similar to a smartwatch and can recognize 22 micro finger gestures that symbolize a command. Acoustic chirps are produced by a ring and received by the wristband. There are specific patterns that sound waves travel through the hand and receivers on the watch pick this up.

“Some interaction is not socially appropriate,” said Cheng Zhang, the Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Computing, according to GA Tech. “A wearable is always on you, so you should have the ability to interact through that wearable at any time in an appropriate and discreet fashion. When we’re talking, I can still make some quick reply that doesn’t interrupt our interaction.”

The system can recognize hand gestures at a high-rate of accuracy, and even knows ‘1’ through ‘10’ in American Sign Language (ASL). This is paving the groundwork for the system being able to recognize ASL as a translator. The long-term goal is for the wearable to translate without utilizing a camera to recognize sign language, Zhang said.

The system is known as FingerPing and is limited to a thumb ring and watch. Right now, the recognized gestures are simple such as tapping your finger or holding up a number ‘1.’

“The receiver recognizes these tiny differences,” Zhang said. “The injected sound from the thumb will travel at different paths inside the body with different hand postures. For instance, when your hand is open there is only one direct path from the thumb to the wrist. Any time you do a gesture where you close a loop, the sound will take a different path and that will form a unique signature.”

In the future, the researchers hope to improve upon the device, and expand on the concept and technique.