We’ve seen interactive rings that receive alerts from your smartphone and even rings that will give you the current time in a unique way, but a new ring leapfrogs the rest by acting as a full-on control mechanism.
On its exterior, Logbar’s Ring device looks like nothing more than a silver ring, but packed inside the device are electronics that allow it to recognize your finger gestures and control any number of devices.
Logbar CEO Takuro Yoshida gave a detailed demonstration of the silver interactive device last year in San Francisco, and now Ring is available for purchase through a Kickstarter campaign.
By recognizing finger gestures, Ring allows the wearer to write text messages by simply drawing in the air. The same dynamic allows the wearer to access apps by drawing designated shapes in the air. For example, drawing a music note could access your music player, while drawing an envelope shape would allow you to access your email.
More advanced functions depicted in the company’s Kickstarter video (see above) include using the Bluetooth device for mobile payments via GPS or iBeacon, and as a controller for televisions and lights in smart homes. The company also says that it has tested Ring with devices spanning a wide spectrum of currently available, bleeding-edge hardware, including the Pebble watch, quadcopter drones and even Google Glass.
Ring’s associated app also allows you to program original shape gesture commands. This option could be particularly useful for disabled or visually impaired users with somewhat unconventional finger gesture patterns.
To activate the device, you simply press the side button on the Ring, and to receive alerts you can either receive a vibration or view the discreet little LED pinpoints near the button port. According to the device’s developers, Ring can perform up to 1,000 gestures before its battery needs to be recharged.
The only obvious shortcoming of the device at this point is that fact that it’s not waterproof. That could turn into a problem for those attempting to use Ring in mobile environments during bad weather, or even inside the home, say, if you forget you have Ring on when you go to wash your hands.
Also, Ring’s rechargeable battery is not replaceable. Once it stops charging, the fun is over, and you’ll have to pony up for a brand new Ring. That might not be as bad as it sounds. The cheapest early bird version of the device sold for $145, and during Yoshida’s presentation last year he mentioned hopes of getting the device down to the $100 range.
At launch, the Ring app will only be available for iOS and Android devices, but the company has plans to release a Windows Phone version.
The device blew past its original Kickstarter goal of $250,000 in just its first five days of availability and, as of this writing, Ring had reached about $400,000 in funding, with nearly a full month left for new signups.