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Ring is a Gesture-Based Wearable for Your Finger

March 4, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

In this world of mobile technology, wearables are quickly becoming king, which is why we’re seeing more and more of them as they vie for attention in a market that’s quickly becoming crowded.  Smartwatches are finally starting to catch on, if the announcement if the Gear 2 is anything to go by, and now Google Glass should finally be making its public debut this year as well.  What about those rings on your fingers though?  Surely those can be, er, technologized, right?  The answer is yes, absolutely, and while we’ve seen other smartrings before we haven’t seen anything quite like Ring yet.  What makes Ring so different you ask?  Well a number of things, but we’ll start with design first.  Ring is a simple unassuming design that looks more like a super large platinum wedding band than any smart device usually does, and that’s because it features 3 LED lights on it rather than a screen.  This helps save on weight of the device since a massive battery doesn’t have to be packed into Ring, and it also helps save on battery life since there isn’t a screen to constantly power.  What it does have is a series of accelerometers and other parts that allow you to create gesture-based actions with Ring, including something as complex as texting in mid-air.

When you put ring on you pair it with your favorite phone via Bluetooth 4.0, so you’ll need to be running Android 4.4 or higher (or iOS7 if we must go there).  We’re not sure why Ring developers are limiting it to Android 4.4 since Android 4.3 was the one that brought official Bluetooth 4.0 support, but with more phones getting that Android 4.4 KitKat update this will become less of a problem by the time Ring actually hits market.  Ring has its own app which features not only a store full of other apps specifically tailored to your Ring, but also a way to make custom gestures with the Ring itself.  Ring’s software will also allow you to pair it with other devices that support the Ring, such as smart appliances, or if you have old-school “dumb” appliances you’ll be able to get a Ring Hub to connect to it to be able to perform a number of actions.  Ring uses a few examples such as turning appliances or electronics on or off via gesture, control your TV channel via a compatible WiFi connected TV and others.

Texting is also possible with Ring, as there’s a full-fledged cursive English alphabet built into Ring that lets you literally hand-write letters using your finger.  You’ll also be able to pay via a checkmark gesture or writing a number via iBeacon or GPS, but unfortunately doesn’t feature NFC payment options.  The triple LED on Ring is also useful for receiving alerts, and the built-in vibration motor can help when the LED isn’t obvious enough for you.  Ring also has a touch sensor that’s used for drawing gestures so you aren’t “drunk texting” while waving your hand around in conversation.  You’ll just hold down the touchpad with your thumb for easy gesture approval.

Right now Ring is solely a Kickstarter project, but is projected to start shipping as early as July 2014, meaning if you jump on the Kickstarter now you can have your shiny new Ring right at the peak of summer time.  Ring will be available in the United States, Europe, Japan and China, and can be had for as little as $165 on the Kickstarter page.  Ring comes packaged with a finger-like charging dock for easy quick charging.  The biggest problem with Ring at this point?  It’s not waterproof, which means you’ll have to remove it every time you wash your hands or go for a swim.  Not exactly the best thing for something that resides on your finger, but maybe this’ll be added in a future version.