Sleep Wearables

Oura ring puts a finger on how your sleep affects your day

Since the success of Fitbit, there’s been an endless parade of activity trackers offered through crowdfunding platforms and via traditional channels.

While many of these either treat sleep monitoring as a secondary feature or focus exclusively on the sleep experience, the Oura ring starts with sleep experience monitoring as a foundation for determining optimum activity levels. The ceramic scratch-resistant finger adornment gets an impressive three days of battery life from its tiny battery and charges in about an hour.


IRring is the one ring to rule them all, your devices that is

It would be great to just point a finger at the TV to turn it on or off. Especially if the TV remote can’t be tracked down.

IRring enables users to do just that. The wearable remote control ring can be used to control a TV, DVD player, Blu-ray player, cable box, lamp or almost any other appliance. The IR-enabled ring works with most models and infrared receivers, according to the New Mexico-based company E-Innovations’s Kickstarter campaign. The initial run of the ring will be made using a 3D printer. Backers who pledge $20 will get one ring when it ships in March. Regular pricing isn’t given at the Web site. The new company is hoping to raise $15,000 to finish the ring’s design, order minimum quantities of chips and other components, and start developing other wearable devices as part of a home automation line.

Even if the company’s universal compatibility claim proves true, IRring pales in comparison to several other rival smart rings, including the Nod. For one thing, its functionality is rather limited. It obviously lacks the functionality of most universal remotes. At this stage, IRing looks much cheaper than comparable products. This product will need to up its game in function and style in order to compete in the market.

Technology Wearables

Timer Smart Ring unlocks doors, phones and hearts

Fitness tends to be the main application featured in smart wearable devices. But the maker of the Timer Smart Ring is focusing on other uses for its device, including the ability to use the ring to open intelligent door locks, unlock mobile phone screens, or pass along digital business cards to other mobile phones using NFC technology.

The ring supports most intelligent door locks on the market that use 13.56 MHz, including locks made by Samsung. Users can set the ring to unlock the screen of select mobile phones, whether or not the phone already uses other unlocking systems, such as a gesture code or password. The ring is compatible with Android and Windows smartphones, but not iOS. As shown in the campaign’s somewhat corny video, the ring can also be used to make romantic connections in public places by taking advantage of the device’s NFC. The ring designed for male customers is made with titanium, while the female version is made of 18K rose gold. Its maker is looking to raise €39,000 (~$48,600). Backers who pledge €39 (~$49) will get a ring in a choice of black or white.

Unlike similar products such as the Arcus fitness ring, the Timer Smart Ring actually looks similar to a fairly standard metal ring.  That, and its reasonable price, will make it especially appealing to some male consumers who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing some of the other smart rings on the market that seem to be designed only for female users. But the device’s unmemorable, and even downright strange, name stands to make it a tough sell. An even bigger challenge, however, is its lack of iOS support.




Input Wearables

Nod controls devices without lifting a finger — well, maybe one

The Premise. Sure, the idea of being able to control all the devices in a home with a tablet or phone is appealing. What If all that could be done without a mobile device, however? What all that could be done with a sleek, wearable interface?

The Product. The Nod is the next entry in the field of smart rings designed to keep users able to interface with all kinds of connected electronics without having to pick up any kind of keyboard or phone. This stylish stainless steel ring combines motion-detection with buttons and a touch interface to allow users to control Android or iOS apps, Bluetooth or wi-fi enabled devices, smart lightbulbs, thermometers, and more.

The Pitch. In a simple, one-minute introduction video, the Nod is shown primarily as a tool for slackers to control things by waving their hands around. From Netflix to Halo, the couch-bound hero is intent on accomplishing everything with the ring on his finger. Nevermind the nightmare of trying to play a game with that many buttons using a ring, the Nod is then shown at a business presentation, as a wild, complicated  gesticulation becomes a search for a six-letter word. This video does a good job of showing off what Nod can do, but a better job of showing how ridiculous it looks to use. Nod is available for pre-order now.

The Perks. If buyers like it and they want to put a Nod on it, they can get one in fall 2014 for $149.

The Potential.  The smart ring is being brought up as a small, powerful interface tool for users to interact with all connected objects. Nod lacks the subtlety of competitor Fin, but appears to offer a wider range of compatibility, albeit trading in subtle thumb slides for wild Wii-like finger swipes. Nod offers a similar sense of style as the previously-covered Smart Ring as well, but Nod’s intent is to be an interface for all appliances, not just a handy way to keep track of phone applications. The idea is appealing, and the execution seems to be there as well, but the freedom from traditional input that a Nod provides seems to come with a sacrifice of simplicity of use. Anyone with a decent typing speed on desktop or mobile might lack the patience for Nod.