The Best Smart Rings – Ringly, DOI SmartRing and More
First we had smartphones, little computers that could fit in a pocket. Then along came smartwatches, and we could use computers to communicate and control other devices without having to dip a hand into the pocket. The next range will be an even smaller device—the smart ring.
A smart ring is a small wearable device that fits on your finger. While it seems sci-fi-ish, the smart ring technology already has a purpose, and companies are already racing to pioneer the most functional problem-solving rings that that look to change how we live life.
In this post, we will explore the top 10 smart rings already in the market, under development, or already prototyped, designed, and even funded. Just as smartphones and smartwatches begun, smart rings are gradually edging their way into the mainstream with two major advantages: they are discrete and unlike watches and phones, they are more of jewellery and obvious devices.
What does a smart ring do?
Smartphones’ primary function is to communicate and connect. The smartwatch has assumed the role of a media remote, a bridge between the user and his smartphone, and an exercise companion. What primary purpose does the ring serve? Well, according to Digital Trends, smart rings are connected jewellery that users can use to control gadgets through gestures, check their smartphone notifications, play games, unlock their cars and homes, and the list goes on and on.
Quite an impressive number of smart ring manufacturers have taken to crowdfunding sites mainly Indiegogo and Kickstarter as the race for the ‘pioneer’ smart ring heats up. Here is a roundup of the most intriguing, the most promising, and the weird, smart rings we can look forward to today.
1. Moodmetric Smart Ring
As the name hints, the Moodmetric smart ring is a wearable piece of tech that changes how smart devices detect and measure the user’s moods. This ring uses sensitive sensors to detect changes in the skin’s conductors to measure the user’s mood fluctuations. This data can be used to determine the user’s emotional energy, to track levels of stress, and understand what situations calms them down or fires them up.
Moodmetric promises to revolutionise how smart rings are used to record and monitor a person’s health, and with a feature to provide suggestions on how to live healthy, it is ideal for health fanatics. I can imagine how handy it would come in helping people suffering from such conditions as high blood pressure in managing stress and anxiety.
The developer of Mood Metric, a Finnish startup Moodmetric says that the smart ring features a biometric sensor that measures autonomous reactions in the nervous system to tell the wearer’s emotional state to promote happiness, boost the quality of life, and enhance emotional fitness. Using a Bluetooth chip in its ‘Stone’, the Mood Metric can be paired with a smartphone and with a simple app, the data it sends can be processed and interpreted then displayed as anger, happiness, anxiety, or heartbreak, etc.
The Mood Metric has been on sale since January 2015 for $179 (ca. £117).
2. Fin Ring
Despite the opposable human thumb being credited for everything we have built in the world, it is the last finger anyone would intend to wear a ring. The Fin Ring is a thumb ring. This is an electronic device equipped with a Bluetooth chip that can be used to perform a wide variety of actions such as lowering the volume on a TV, dialling a phone, unlocking a car, or controlling any Bluetooth-equipped device. The is no official availability date of the ring, but you can pre-order one for $120 now.
The user can use the Fin Ring by gesturing using the thumb or by tapping on the ring using the other fingers. The ring can be paired with a variety of devices and programmed the same way a hotkey is programmed on a computer. The developers promise that when it hits the market, the Fin Ring will be able to control as many as three devices at a time.
Its most impressive feature, however, is that it can last for up to one month on a single charge when it is used 8 hours a day. Its greatest downside, on the other hand, is the bulky design and build.
3. Ringly Smart Jewellery
Ringly is a loveable tiny hardware that takes the cake for aesthetic design. Currently on pre-order for $195, this beautifully designed and built smart ring claims to open doors, sync with a ton of apps to bring you notifications right to your finger. It alerts the user through four different vibration patterns, as well as through a tiny LED light on its side to provide extended visual interaction.
Like other rings on this list, Ringly features a Bluetooth chip that connects with other devices. The makers of Ringly have been wise to keep the ring simple—no screen, just subtle vibration notifications and the option to specify which people or apps you can reach you on the ring.
Ringly is a smart ring that perfectly combines functionality with aesthetics. It looks like real jewellery adorned with different precious stones including sapphire, moonstone, emerald, and quartz. The ring’s notifications can be customised for different apps on Android and iOS including texts, calls, emails, etc., thereby eliminating the need to fish out the phone every time there is an alert. Ringly is available in three sizes — 6, 7, and 8 only.
4. Titanium Falcon Talon Smart Ring
Talon is marketed as the world’s first gaming controller Smart Ring, clearly defining what its primary purpose is. This smart ring utilises gesture and motion sensors to make playing games and controlling apps a hands-free and very practical physical experience. The watch is also designed to control smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, smart TVs, and VR headsets as well as a range of IoT devices over Bluetooth.
Additional Reading: Interview with Huijuan Guo from Titanium Falcon Talon
Designed and developed by Titanium Falcon, the Talon is just 4 millimetres thick but it is powered by a 32-bit MCU and features a 9-axis motion sensor that seamlessly takes the user from the traditional 2D touchscreen gaming to a 3D touch-less experience. The smart ring pairs with gaming consoles, computers, mobile devices, and smart TVs to provide a Wii-like gaming experience through all-body physical actions such as swinging, jumping and firing among others.
The Talon is a pretty awesome smart ring whose prototype proved that a single battery charge can power the device as long as 12 hours before requiring a recharge. It is a sleek, stylish, and immaculately designed ring with an impressive soft-skin feel silicon gel on the inner surface that gives it a comfortable and snugly fit around the finger. It is expected to hit the shelves sometime in mid-2016.
5. DOI SmartRing
When you have the DOI SmartRing, you do not need to have your smartphone on you at all times. This is because this smart ring connects with a smartphone to push notifications to your finger. Presently, the ring can alert you to text messages, calls, emails, and calendar notifications on your smartphone. The developers are however promising that they are working on a second generation SmartRing that will be able to integrate with specific ring apps to provide advanced notification features including display of message snippets!
The SmartRing, designed and built by MOTA, has garnered more hype over the past year than any other smart ring. And this is largely because of its gentle vibration notification feature, tiny LED screen that can be swiped right or left to access notifications, and the use of icons to provide detailed information on alerts. The ring is also one of the most affordable at just $100 and has an impressive battery performance of 24 to 72 hours on a single charge.
6. NFC Ring
The NFC Ring is a tad different from the smart rings on this list because of how it works. Rather than use Bluetooth, this ring uses NFC technology to help the wearer accomplish a range of tasks such as locking and unlocking a smartphone or tablet and sharing and transferring information e.g. links, contacts, Wi-Fi information, and images to NFC-enabled devices. This ring does not use Bluetooth to connect to devices and consequently, it also never needs a battery recharge.
The NFC Ring is designed to be water resistant to a depth of up to 50 meters. The second generation of the ring is a new and improved device taking advantage of the developments in the Near-Field Communication technology to provide greater range of NFC signals, and digital storage are of 888 bytes, capable of storing complex data such as encryption keys, Bitcoin addresses, and vCard data. It is compatible with Android, Linux/Unix, and Windows 8 and 10 devices.
7. Ring ZERO
Don’t let the lacklustre name deceive you, the Ring ZERO is a smart fashion accessory that you would love to wear. Created by Logbar Inc., the Ring is a zinc-coated wearable device that works as a gesture-based controller. It pairs with Bluetooth-enabled devices from smartphones and tablets to cars and smart TVs to allow you to perform a myriad of actions and control devices with finger and hand gestures. You can have one today for just $270.
With the Ring ZERO, you can increase the volume on your stereo, turn off your Bluetooth-enabled smart bulbs, lock and unlock car doors, compose tweets on your tablet, check the weather forecast for tomorrow and take pictures through Google Glass. One of the best features of this smart ring is that you can customise and save up to 23 gestures using an accompanying mobile application. The ring is available in different sizes, each featuring an activation button and integrated motion sensors.
8. Electricfoxy Pulse Ring
Pulse is a unique health tracking smart ring that focuses on monitoring the wearer’s heat-rate and syncing the data with a smartphone app. Like Mood Metric, this wearable device shows a lot of potential for adoption in the health and wellness industry. Pulse is, however, better than Mood metric because it has more features and functionalities including an LED indicator that can glow in different colours—white, blue, or red—to indicate different levels of heart rates.
The Pulse smart ring is a perfect workout companion that is best placed to take the place of the smartwatch. Designed and built by Electricfoxy, this wearable accessory is marketed as the ideal fitness performance companion for people looking to monitor and store accurate workout data using a fashionable finger fear that can be worn as a piece of smart jewellery. The ring connects to a smartphone and using a specific app, provide haptic and visual feedback in real-time during workouts.
Upcoming Promising Smart Ring Projects
London-based Kerv is one of the newest entrants in the smart ring manufacturing race looking to upset the market with a ‘smooth, shiny, and priceless’ smart ring that promises to revolutionising contactless payments through NFC. Another upcoming smart ring project, Bird, is being developed by Israeli company MUV Interactive and is rumoured to be laden with sensors that will provide real-time analysis of data and can translate movement to virtual touchscreen gestures. Tons of other smaller developers are coming up with unique but fascinating smart ring concepts that guarantee stiff competition in the smart ring industry and the tech arena in general.
Miniaturisation in technological advancement enables smart rings to pack many circuits and hardware but still look presentable and fit comfortably on a finger. We are continually being impressed by the potential of smart wearable rings being unveiled every day; I cannot wait to see what amazing capabilities future smart rings will bring.
What is the Future of Smart Rings?
One of the world’s most valuable tech companies, Apple, is rumoured to be working on a smart ring of its own, possibly not to miss out on the wearables market like it almost did with the smartwatch. This is proof enough that smart rings have a future and as technology progresses insanely fast, soon enough the hardware we will be interacting with the most, will be those that fit the finger.
Despite smart rings being relatively new in the personal communication devices arena, the myriad of different devices and technologies being funded on crowdfunding sites, top among them Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is the reason we have all kinds of smart rings in the market today. There are smart rings designed specifically for health and fitness purposes and others for accessing smartphone and tablet notifications. However, a majority of the rings show a promise to be all-round fashion and lifestyle accessories that can be used to make payments at the grocery store, validate the wearer on public transport, provide weather information, and pretty much everything a smartwatch can do.