Facebook to announce wearable device for the hand.

+AllThingsD's +Kara Swisher reported this morning that "two sources with knowledge of the matter" say Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will announce this week a wearable computing device designed to compete with Google Glass and the Apple iWatch. 

According to the report, Facebook will unveil Thursday a glove-like device called Facebook Finger, which connects via Bluetooth 4.0 to an Android phone. 

The technology came from Facebook's acquisition of a startup called Cera Industries, owned by the brilliant designer and inventor Bryan Cera, who has been working on the Finger project inside Facebook since the acquisition in May of last year.

Once paired with an Android phone running new software that Facebook will also announce, the Finger device does three things: First, it works like a Bluetooth headset for making voice phone calls while the phone is still in the pocket. The user speaks into a microphone built into the pinky finger, and listens via a speaker in the thumb. To hang up the call, with pinkie and thumb still extended, the user points both downward and moves the hand down in an intuitive "hang up" gesture. 

Second, it responds to what Swisher called "a limited vocabulary of other gestures." Rather than detect those gestures with cameras and sensors like Microsoft Xbox does, Finger directly perceives the position of the user's hand and configuration of fingers. 

Third, it has a built-in camera for taking pictures. Users take a picture by holding up the hand like they have a camera, and "triggering" the index finger. 

The gestures feature is especially interesting. For example, to check into a bar or restaurant using Finger, you simply make the "thumbs up" gesture. That registers a post on Facebook with a "Like." 

By extending the index finger and jabbing it at another Finger user, Facebook registers an online "Poke." 

And here's what I think is the killer feature. When you shake hands with another Finger user, it registers a mutual "friending" on Facebook, eliminating the need for exchanging business cards. 

A similar feature enables two users to automatically "Like" each other's profiles with a high-five gesture. 

The Finger software will come with several games, according to the report. For example a Scissor, Paper, Rock game that's played with the hands. 

Facebook intends to evolve the Finger technology to eventually relay context-sensitive, location-aware information to Facebook's ad servers, so that Facebook can more accurately serve up relevant ads. This could be a powerful tool in Facebook's competition with Google and others. Not only will they know your location, but they'll always know what you're doing with your right hand. 

Facebook Finger will be shipped in time for the holiday season, according to the report. Facebook's marketing tagline for the device will reportedly be: "Give your loved ones the gift of Facebook. Give your family the Finger."


Shared publiclyView activity