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Apple working on gadget that turns fingers into Mac mouse

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Apple is developing a futuristic device that could let people control Mac computers with their fingers instead of a mouse, new documents show.

The gadget looks like a high-tech Band-Aid that would slip over one or more of the user’s fingers, according to a patent application the US Trademark and Patent Office published Thursday.

The band would contain sensors to detect a wide range of different gestures — such as swiping, tapping or rotating — and transmit them to another device, like a Mac desktop, patent documents show.

The user could make the gestures against a surface of an object or simply wave their fingers in the air to perform tasks with the help of an “optical distance sensor,” records show.

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It might even be as simple as using a finger to make gestures against the palm of the other hand, as Apple depicted in an illustration included with the application it filed in July.

Apple working on gadget that turns fingers into Mac mouse
Image from Apple patent application for Finger Input Devices to use hand gestures to control a Mac instead of a mouse.
Apple patent application
Apple working on gadget that turns fingers into Mac mouse
Image from Apple patent application of workings of Finger Input Devices that use hand gestures to control a Mac instead of a mouse.
Apple patent application

The finger sensors could be combined with others tracking the user’s gaze to enable the person “to navigate a menu on a display, to scroll through a document, to manipulate computer-aided designs” and perform other tasks, according to the filing.

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One could also wear one or more of the ring-like gadgets on both hands to perform more complex gestures, according to Patently Apple, which first reported on the application.

The application was released after The Information reported last month that Apple was working on a “mixed-reality” headset that would be outfitted with more than a dozen cameras to track hand movements.

It’s uncertain how far Apple has gotten in developing the finger device or when it might be rolled out. The iPhone maker did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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Apple shares were down about 0.5 percent at $119.44 as of 11:48 a.m.

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