Smart rings: jewellery, meet technology
As technology shrinks in size and increases in power, making smart wearable accessories that are worn on your fingers is becoming less of a challenge.
Research suggests that we check our phone every six and a half minutes and much of this results from notifications that least interest us or can wait for us to attend to them later. With your cellular device tucked away in your pocket or bag, you can now use a smart ring to attend to only those notifications that deserve your attention. The rest can wait.
Because your fingers have easy-to-sense arteries, some of these devices are also able to gather precise data on your body’s vital signals. Then there are others that can be used to unlock your doors or smartphones or even send SOS messages.
Indistinguishable from regular jewellery in looks, smart rings are gradually edging their way into the mainstream. This is our pick of devices that combine fashion and technology into some seriously smart wearables.
Launched in 2017, Motiv is a lightweight ring designed to monitor your heart rate, track activity and sleep.
Measuring only 8mm in width, the device manages to pack a custom lithium ion battery that delivers a battery life up to 5 days, a three-axis accelerometer, an optical heart rate sensor, Bluetooth for syncing and try-colored LED indication for charging and syncing.
The full feature-set is rather impressive. The ring monitors activity, sleep, active heart rate, resting heart rate, calories burned, distance and steps – and it does this well. The app establishes weekly goals and adjusts daily targets based on user’s activity. With a 3-5 day battery life and water resistance, the gadget covers all the bases.
The company is rolling out software updates on a regular basis, too. As of May 2018, the ring has more in-depth Alexa integration, and for those times you misplace your smartphone, Motiv will now provide a helping hand with a Find my iPhone function.
Ringly is a pioneer in the connected jewelry space. Its original rings and bracelets are fashionable and work very well. Ringly has built on this and added fitness tracking features to the second generation range.
There is no obvious clue that the wearable differs from traditional jewelry. Crafted with semi-precious gemstones and a beautifully designed setting, the jewelry connects to your phone and discreetly buzzes and lights up when you receive a notification.
You control what comes through and can even customize notifications with four different vibration patterns and five light colors. In addition to standard smartphone messages, Ringly allows notifications from over 100 popular productivity, wellness and messaging apps. This means you can keep your phone tucked away, confident that you will not be missing any important messages.
As mentioned, the second generation gizmo also tracks your physical activity. This includes steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. To create goals and view your progress, head over to the accompanying smartphone app.
There is a range of smart rings and smart bracelets to choose from. They come in a variety of semi-precious gemstones and metal finishes, and there are several versions with 18K gold plating.
The award winning Ōura is one of the first rings that continuously tracks your vitals. The result is a total body output of information.
The wearable puts lots of emphasis on sleep. With no buttons to push, Ōura automatically detects and analyzes the quality of your rest and recovery by measuring your heart rate, pulse wave form, respiration rate, body temperature, movement and more.
You will get information on deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, and periods of wakefulness, as well as a ‘Readiness Score’. This is displayed as a percentage, and tells you whether you need to adjust the intensity and duration of your day’s activities. It can also uncover actionable insights for changes to your daily activities that can help you sleep better.
While you are awake, Ōura automatically measures all your physical activity and time spent sitting. The ring counts your daily steps and total distance traveled. It also estimates the calories burned per day.
The second generation ring addresses one of the biggest customer complaints and, at less than half the size of its predecessor, is much slimmer. And just like Ringly,there are various distinct designs to choose from.
The Ares range consists of beautifully crafted smart rings made from 925 sterling silver which also act as a notification hub for your finger, delivering updates when you have new text messages, email, calendar events and incoming calls.
There are versions for both men and women. They allow you to color code your notifications so you know when you get a specific notification without having to pull your cellular device out of your pocket.
Once connected via Bluetooth, Ares vibrates or flickers every time your smartphone/tablet goes beyond the range of 10 meters. You also get a Simple-Tap SOS feature which lets you reach out to your loved ones with just a few simple taps.
The NFC Ring is a different animal altogether. Originally launched on Kickstarter back in 2013, the device enables users to unlock doors, computers and smartphones, transfer information and link people. The company followed this up with another campaign in 2016 to develop a second generation version.
The latest edition is designed with two independent NFC tags, one on the upper surface and one on the lower. This is key to its operation: the upper tag is programmed with information you frequently want to share with others such as you email address or telephone number. The lower tag holds data you’d rather keep private such as your payment information.
The 2016 design does away with the metal of the first-generation model in favour of a high-tech ceramic specifically developed to work in tandem with the inlaid NFC tags. It also provides a much greater operating range than the original and allows for storing more complex data.
You’ll be happy to know, this ring does not use Bluetooth to connect which means it never needs recharging.
Kerv believes that we shouldn’t have to carry around so much stuff just to get through the day – such as cash, payment cards, loyalty cards, passes, ID, tickets and keys. To this end its developed a ring, which dishes up all the features and benefits of NFC.
You can use Kerv to make payments anywhere in the world that displays the contactless MasterCard payment symbol –think coffee shops, public transport, supermarkets and pub chains. The device works all by itself, so you don’t need to pair it with a smartphone to make a payment. No charging required.
The ring is engineered from aerospace-grade zirconia technical ceramic, and is available in either black or white outside and a range of colours inside.
Nimb is a ring that puts personal security right into your hands. Press and hold the button on the underside — and the message with your GPS location is immediately and silently sent to friends and family, people nearby, police and emergency services or members of the Nimb community.
You can do it with a touch of a thumb, you don’t even need the other hand to be free. The device will vibrate when the button is being pressed, so you’ll feel it on your finger. Once the emergency alarm is activated, Nimb automatically starts recording audio. It will also protect you against mobile phone loss, gently vibrating when your phone winds up too far away from you.
There is a choice of classic black or white, and various sizes. The device is water and dust resistant and the rechargeable battery will keep it going for up to two weeks.
Helios Smart Ring
Helios wants to help you monitor the amount of sunlight you’re getting. There is a UV index sensor and an ambient light sensor onboard, that continuously track the strength of the sun and calculate your vitamin D absorption.
Over a billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient because of the indoor lifestyle and sun avoidance behavior. Your body must needs this to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.
You’ll get motivated to consume vitamin D safely from the sun and at the same time the sunlight coach provides sun protection, so you’ll never get sunburned again. The device retails for just over $150 and there is a variety of colours to choose from.
The ORII Voice Powered Smart Ring turns your finger into a smartphone. No, its not a misprint, the ring actually enables you to make calls, send texts, create reminders and calendar appointments simply by tapping on your ear!
ORII receives audio when paired to your smartphone through Bluetooth. When a call comes in, the ring transmits the audio through your finger. When you press your fingertip to your ear, you can hear the voice thanks to bone conduction technology. The dual microphones enable your voice to be heard. With access to Siri and Google Assistant, the ring can also handle many daily tasks.
The device is lightweight and comfortable to wear, splash-proof, and features anodized aluminum. The ring is not built for chatterboxes though, and is designed more for short calls and texts on the go. Around an hour of continuous listening time should be enough to get you through the day.