Apple patent reveals details of NFC payments ring

Apple NFC ring patent
RING THEORY: Apple has applied for a patent for a new NFC ring

Apple has developed a concept NFC ring that would allow a wearer to make payments, transfer information to others with a handshake and access secure documents on a shared device with a tap of their finger, a newly published patent application reveals.

The ring would also feature a biometric sensor for capturing the wearer’s biometric information, along with a computer processor, microphones, a camera and a small display, the application says.

“In a financial transaction, the user’s ring is paired with a financial account such that transactions can be completed merely by bringing the ring within an NFC reader field,” Devices and Methods for a Ring Computing Device explains.

“For example, if the handle or door of a refrigerator were fitted with an NFC reader, opening the refrigerator with the hand wearing the ring would identify the user to the refrigerator. The user could then be charged for any item withdrawn from the refrigerator through the associated financial account.”

“NFC communication may similarly be used to share information with other devices, including other ring computing devices,” the patent continues. “Two users both wearing ring computing devices, for example, may share their contact information by shaking respective hands each bearing a ring.”

Automatic authentication

“The users may configure their devices to share other information, messages or money,” the patent application continues. “For example, the user may say, ‘by shaking hands with Steve, I agree to give him $20,’ which is recorded and converted to text and/or computer instructions, such that when the user shakes hands with Steve, the user’s ring is detected by an external device or a second ring worn by Steve and $20 is paid to Steve.

“Any digital right could be passed between users in a similar manner, such as event tickets, music, electronic books or digital files by indicating to one or both of the ring or external device of the user’s intent by shaking another user’s hand. The metaphor of handshaking is non-limiting; the user may bring ring within proximity of another user’s NFC reader, whether embodied in another ring or any other external device.”

“In some embodiments, the user uses the ring to access secure documents on a shared remote electronic device by bringing the remote electronic device into proximity with an NFC initiator, thereon and thus automatically authenticates him or herself,” the patent adds. “For example, doctors in a hospital may be authenticated to and use a plurality of ring computing devices to access partitioned patient data on shared terminals.”

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