Smart Rings

Ars Technica reports that a crowd-funded “smart ring” will be available in April 2014, and will be able to “display the time, accept or reject calls, control music, trigger the smartphone’s camera, and initiate speed-dial calls. It will also alert the wearer with light-up icons for texts, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts, and Skype.”  The picture they have also looks pretty swank, to my aesthetic sense.

Ars Technica commenters are, rightly, extremely dubious that this ring will actually materialize, especially by 4/2014.  Given how much trouble big technology companies are having with smart watches, can random people actually make this ring materialize?  I don’t believe it either.

But clearly there’s nothing prima facia impossible about a smart ring.  So leaving aside this particular iteration of the concept, how do rings stack up against watches and glasses?

I hate watch-bands, and while it took me a couple of months to get used to my wedding ring, I think a ring may beat both a watch (possibly) and glasses (definitely) for comfort.  The (mock-up) pictures on Ars Technica have convinced me that you could read time off one pretty conveniently.  Obviously, addressable UI space is insanely tiny.  You won’t be reading even short texts on a ring.

I’m dubious that accepting/rejecting calls on a ring is useful.  Clearly you’d have to have an ear-piece in to actually do anything with the call, so why not just press the button on the side of the ear-piece, like even my piece-of-crap bluetooth hands-free device could do years ago?

Icons for email and other asynchronous communication could be useful, but probably do not justify a device in and of themselves.

It kind of pains me, because seeing the mock-ups makes me want one of these, but I guess I have to call it as “too small to be of any real use.”  Unless, perhaps, like me, you would like to be able to see the time without pulling out your phone, but hate watches.


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