When I think of wearables, my thoughts lean toward smartwatches, advanced fitness trackers, and devices like Google Glass. More recently that category hast been expanded to include smartrings, and the NFC Ring might be the most practical smartring yet.
What can the NFC Ring do? Why might you want one? This video shows some of the reasons …
The NFC Ring is made from “an advanced ceramic designed to improve operating range, comfort and appearance when compared with the metal original.”
How does it work? There are two NXP Semiconductor near-field communication (NFC) integrated circuits with short-range antennas built into each NFC Ring; one is on the top and one is on the bottom.
This is key to its operation: the upper tag should be programmed with information you frequently want to share with the public, while the lower tag holds data you’d rather keep private.
The two chips operate independently, and “the ring is worn with one tag facing inwards and the other outwards, providing a unique gesture-based access control system which allows for the sharing of public data using a closed fist and private data using an open hand.” Most of the time when you are wearing the ring, these chips will be completely passive, but when you are ready to share data or unlock something, the ring will always be ready.
Each of the NFC Ring’s circuits is able to store a total of 1KB, of which 888 bytes are accessible to users for storage. Obviously these rings aren’t meant to be used as a thumb drive, rather they are meant to store tiny items like “encryption keys, contact information, or links to external websites.”
All it takes to access this data is a simple touch of the NFC Ring to any NFC-compatible smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any “NFC-enabled home security systems, locks, time-tracking attendance systems, keyless vehicle ignitions, and even microcontrollers and microcomputers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi when paired with a low-cost reading device.”
If you’re wondering which phones the NFC Ring will work with, the answer is most Android, Windows 8+, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Linux/Unix devices. You likely noticed the huge gap left by iPhone, and you might even be thinking “but the iPhone 6 and on all have NFC, because that’s how Apple Pay works!” Yeah, but Apple Pay is the only thing Apple has opened up the iPhone’s NFC to be compatible with. 😛
This latest version of the NFC Ring has an improved operating range, improved storage size, a more refined user experience, and at $35, it’s affordable enough to try if you are just curious about how you might like the experience.
They’re not bad looking, either.
The NFC Ring looks like a clever (and stylish) way to store little bits of code that can make your life easier. Are you interested? Check out their Kickstarter.
Want to learn more and gets some tips for using your NFC Ring? Go here.