When we talk about on-the-go tech, we typically consider common accessories like fitness bands, smart watches, headphones, and the like. However, there is an abundance of smart accessories around us, and smart rings are among them.
This relatively new breed of clothing is lighter and smaller than watches and bracelets. Also, they look like normal jewelry. So you probably would have seen one but you wouldn’t know that it is a smart device.
Although smart rings are still in their infancy, there are several options available on the market today. However, not a large number of consumers use them as much as smart watches and fitness bands.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Smart Ring
- 2 What a Smart Ring can do
- 3 How smart rings work
- 4 Are smart rings worth your time and money?
- 4.1 The good
- 4.2 The bad
- 5 Put on a smart ring
What is a Smart Ring
A smart ring looks like an ordinary ring in shape, except that it has added electronic characteristics that respond to specific gestures.
The concept is not new. Some startups and companies such as Fin, SmartyRing and Altruis, claimed that they would create smart rings that would be capable of transforming the way we work and play.
Even after securing funding and creating prototypes, some of these companies’ smart ring ideas fell through due to various issues, including design, technology and legal disputes.
They might be difficult to manufacture back then, but today brands like Apple and Amazon are proving that smart rings are possible, and they could be the next big thing in the smart clothing tech market.
What a Smart Ring can do
Smart rings have similar functions to smart watches and fitness bands.
For example, you can get a smart doorbell with a microscopic screen that displays notifications like received text messages, missed calls, or social media alerts from your smartphone. Some smart doorbells can unlock your smartphone or smart locks, store passwords, and also allow you to make payments.
For fitness enthusiasts, some smart rings can track your steps, heart rate, and calories burned, just like your fitness band or smartwatch would. Although there are many models to suit all tastes, there is still no standard or universal feature set for these tiny hoops.
How smart rings work
To understand how a smart ring works, you have to look at how they are made.
Creating a smart ring involves integrating various technologies like Bluetooth, NFC chips, sensors, and batteries into a tiny ring. Also, you have to make sure it looks and feels good when wearing it.
The design stage is where many compromises are made and technical problems arise. Technological advancements have made it easier to create and build a smart ring today. A typical smart ring could carry motion sensors, haptic actuators, a battery, an NFC chip, an antenna, and more, although not all of them have the same characteristics.
Another challenge would be finding the right size options and settings. With a smart ring, the main consideration is size, as it cannot be adjusted to fit all fingers, and it cannot be adjusted by yourself.
Some smart ring producers have tried to solve this by providing size kits for people who want to make sure they get the correct size before making a purchase.
This way they get the complete kit with different sizes of demo plastic rings, which they will wear for one day at a time, testing on multiple fingers to find the correct fit for the correct finger.
Once they are set to the proper size, they will go to the producer’s website and fill in the details.
Although this can add friction to the buying process, it is probably the best way to ensure that you get the right size for your finger.
Are smart rings worth your time and money?
At this point, it is not possible to say that smart rings are generally good or bad because the technology is still nascent. Also, different rings have different capacities, and not all producers do well on some fronts.
The smart rings ensure that you won’t be too dependent on your smartphone, which means less screen time. You also won’t have to keep checking your smartwatch to record your calories, steps, or other measurements.
Unlike smartphones or smart watches that need frequent charging, smart rings do not; They can last for days on a single charge, depending on the ring you buy.
If you need one for contactless payments, it’s arguably the most friction and hassle-free solution compared to using contactless cards, smartwatches, and key fobs for the same purpose.
That said, smart rings have their challenges, too. Especially when it comes to designing a capable one. That adds to the cost of owning one, as you would have to pay a premium to get a ring that can track various types of metrics.
Some popular options, like the NFC Ring range, can store data, unlock your phone or smart locks, and cost as little as $ 13. Others, like the Oura and Motiv rings, cost about the same price as a smartwatch, but offer more functionality like sleep tracking, which allows you to make and receive calls, listen to messages, and more.
The main drawback is the size of the ring, as there are models that may not be comfortable to wear throughout the day, especially those with a battery and display.
Smart rings are also not as attractive as smart watches and fitness bands, and they are prone to malfunction if the manufacturer does not have the means to debug the rings and fix any software problems.
Put on a smart ring
Smart ring technology is still fairly new. If you are tired of wearing a smartwatch or fitness band all day, you can do something about that little annoyance by buying a smart ring. It will help you get on with your day without having to reach for your smartphone or wallet, and it will help you stay in shape while keeping track of your health indicators in a smaller accessory.