Are Smart Rings the Next Big Thing?

Staying on top of the ever changing technology front is one of my favorite pastimes.  As I was researching things like video surveillance options (we think racoons are nesting on our roof) and drones today, I happened upon a concept which was new to me, the emerging market for wearable smart rings.  I’ve always held a certain fondness for rings and I’ve focused much of my silversmith training towards that end.  So I decided to present a sort of overview of the current smart ring market.

Smart rings are one of the newest ideas in the wearable technology craze.  These cutting edge designs are generally only available on a pre-sale basis through crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter and indiegogo as of September 6, 2014 (with one exception), but the prototypes shown below seem to offer huge promise!

Smartphone Companions

One Prototype of MOTA

MOTA Smart RingThe first type of smart ring I discovered was the MOTA which is intended to be a cell phone companion device to allow you to receive alerts and even texts unobtrusively.

MOTA $65 – 175 currently on presale at indiegogo

Link to the MOTA presale

Link to a great Engadget article about the MOTA ring

Another MOTA Prototype Image

MOTA Smart Ring

MOTA Smart Ring

 

Ringly $195 – 260 Ringly is perhaps the least feature-laden of this new subgroup of smartwear.  But what it loses in functionality it makes up for in design.  It is perhaps the one ring that might have broader appeal for ‘nontechno-geeks’.

Link to the Ringly preorder site

A couple of photos of the Ringly

Ringly Smart Ring

Ringly Smart Ring

 

IMG_3113.PNG

NFC Ring $48.97  Limited functions and nfc technology (meaning it’s for Android devices not ios) but the NFC ring is already available and it requires no battery…it’s solar powered!

NFC Smart Ring

The UK Kickstarter Campaign for NFC Ring was in August 2013
Link to the initial UK Kickstarter campaign for the NFC ring

Link to the NFC Ring Store

 

Gesture or Remote Control Rings

This second category of new-wave ring-controllers offers compatibility with many different types of devices such as, Android and iOS devices, Windows PCs, Macs, GoPro cameras, Roku boxes, newer LG TVs, Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and even high end smarthome technology such as Phillip’s Hue lighting and Nest thermostats.

Smarty Ring $175   Two cool features the Smarty ring will have are a builtin clock and the ability to alert you if you’ve ventured too far away from your cell phone.

Link to the Smarty ring product page

Link to the retired Indiegogo campaign for the Smarty ring

Link to a YouTube video showing the key features of the Smarty ring

IMG_3109.JPG

Smarty Smart Ring

IMG_3111.PNG

Smarty Smart Ring

 

The Ring by LogBar ~ $165  the blogger below says it doubles as a magic wand

Link to a nice blog written about the Ring

One unique feature of the Ring is the ability to write with a preloaded font set:

IMG_3093.PNG

Video demo of the Ring

A few images of the Ring

The Ring

The Ring

IMG_3095.PNG

 

The Nod $149  It is the first one to launch into the market without a crowdfunding campaign like Kickstarter, or indiegogo!

 

There are 80 different components at Nod’s core, including two powerful CPUs and a superior flexible circuitry. Every trace is routed by hand, then optimally placed for the strongest possible signal, giving Nod’s antenna an impressive 30-foot range.

The Nod ring inside

The Nod ring inside

Link to preorder the Nod

Link to a reviewer who says the prototype was exceptionally smooth and accurate, as demonstrated in the video

Wired article discusses the multi-interactivability feature of the Nod ring

The Nod’s Design

IMG_3089.JPG

The Nod Smart Ring

It comes in S, M, L and XL

The Nod Smart Ring's 4 Sizes

The Fin $110

The Fin takes a slightly different aim at the market by incorporating kid’s video games.

Link to an article about the Fin

Here are pictures of the Fin’s sporty design

IMG_3090.JPG

The Fin Smart Ring

IMG_3091.PNG

The Fin Smart Ring

 

Gizmodo Weighs In

Gizmodo, the popular tech publisher wrote an uncharacteristically pessimistic article on the topic recently.

In a nutshell, the Gizmodo article makes some very good points about this technology being not quite ready yet.

Link to Gizmodo’s article quashing the concept:

In it they discuss the current state of smart watches, which are also still ‘cutting edge’ and their technology is far from perfected yet. Therefore as a practical matter, they question if the expertise and/or technology is advanced enough to produce a miniaturized version of the smartwatch right now.

They also point out some practical concerns such as, most of the rings are fairly big and clunky, and probably not all that comfortable.  They still require use of the device they are connected to, since they can’t perform functions entirely on their own.  Furthermore rather than simplifying users lives, they suggest just the opposite.  Even the simplest interface requires a learning curve, and the more sophisticated ones naturally have greater ones.  This alone which may present the biggest obstacle to future adoption by new users.

The negative perspectives Gizmodo presents are well argued and they draw some extremely valid conclusions.  So, while my initial enthusiasm my be slightly hampered, it’s not crushed entirely…just perhaps put on the back burner for a while, until technology can catch up to our imaginations.

Wall Street Journal Article

One more interesting article I read by the Wall Street Journal gives a bit more information about the current state of technology for a few of the rings mentioned here:

Link to the June 2014 WSJ article on smart rings

Conclusion

I guess I agree with the points made in the Gizmodo article, but for me the appeal is still there…probably because I have a bit of a ring obsession.  So I guess I’ll wait to see if any of these actually hit the market, and if they do I’m sure I’ll try one (or more) of them out!

About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on WordPress...vsatips...where I write tech tips for mobile devices...primarily ios...2nd is vsatrends...where I write less about tech things and more about everything else. I also host a YouThe channel. I use it to better illustrate some of the posts from vsatips and for other random 'How To' topics. I'm a huge fan of YouTube because I think you can learn pretty much anything in the world there. Sometimes I search for something I can't do and don't find anything. A lot of my videos come from that influence...if I do eventually figure out how to do something :-)
This entry was posted in General Technology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Are Smart Rings the Next Big Thing?

  1. Bill says:

    Very interesting article!

    Like

Please leave any comments or questions here and thanks for visiting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s