As technology shrinks in size and increases in power, making smart rings is becoming less of a challenge. They’ve not hit the mainstream just yet but it’s only a matter of time. In this article we outline our pick of the best options that are out there.
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Research suggests that we check our phone every six and a half minutes and much of this results from notifications that do not really interest us or can wait for us to attend to them later.
With your cellular device tucked away in your pocket or bag, you can use a connected ring to attend to only those notifications that deserve your attention. The rest can wait.
Because your fingers have easy-to-sense arteries, some of these devices are also able to gather precise data on your body’s vital signals. Then there are others that can be used to unlock your doors or smartphones or even send SOS messages.
Indistinguishable from regular jewellery in looks, smart rings are becoming more popular. This is our pick of the best devices that you can purchase today. They combine fashion and technology into some seriously smart wearables.
The award winning Ōura puts lots of emphasis on sleep. With no buttons to push, it automatically detects and analyzes the quality of your nightly rest and recovery by measuring your heart rate, pulse wave form, respiration rate, body temperature, movement and more.
You will get information on deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, and periods of wakefulness, as well as a ‘Readiness Score’. This is displayed as a percentage, and tells you whether you need to adjust the intensity and duration of your day’s activities. It can also uncover actionable insights for changes to your daily activities that can help you sleep better.
While you are awake, Ōura automatically measures all your physical activity and time spent sitting. The ring counts your daily steps and total distance traveled. It also estimates the calories burned per day.
The second generation ring addresses one of the biggest customer complaints. At less than half the size of its predecessor, it is much slimmer.
Bottom line: Until the big brands enter this market the Oura Ring is your best option if you are after a connected ring. It comes with a plethora of features and works well.
This one is slightly different from other options on this list. The Wellue O2Ring predominantly does one main thing and it does it well – it tracks your blood oxygen. Other stats that you’ll get are heart rate and body movement.
The thing has a built-in vibration motor that kicks into gear when it sees something out of whack. You’ll get an alert if your blood oxygen level or heart rate are outside of threshold you preset on the smartphone app.
There’s also the option of installing PC software in addition to the smartphone app. The software allows you to view and print a very detailed sleep report, which can also be exported as PDF or CSV files.
Battery life is up to 16 hours of continuous uninterrupted monitoring. We have not tested the ring but it has glowing reviews from those that have.
It’s worth noting the WellueO2 Ring is slightly more expensive than a typical fingertip pulse oximeter. But the convenience of having these stats tracked automatically might be worth it to some.
Bottom line: The WellueO2 Ring is not your typical smart ring. Its main trick is that it monitors blood oxygen while you sleep. It will also alert you if it spots abnormalities.
K Wearables believes that we shouldn’t have to carry around so much stuff just to get through the day – such as cash, payment cards, loyalty cards, passes, ID, tickets and keys. To this end it developed a ring, which dishes up all the features and benefits of NFC.
You can use K Ring to make payments anywhere in the world that displays the contactless MasterCard payment symbol –think coffee shops, public transport, supermarkets and pub chains. The device works all by itself, so you don’t need to pair it with a smartphone to make a payment. No charging required.
The ring is engineered from aerospace-grade zirconia technical ceramic, and is available in either black or white outside and a range of colours inside.
Bottom line: If you like to make payments on your go K Ring presents itself as an interesting option. It doesn’t track health, but it will allow you to make purchases on the go, no smartphone needed thank you very much.
Helios wants to help you monitor the amount of sunlight you’re getting. There is a UV index sensor and an ambient light sensor onboard, that continuously track the strength of the sun and calculate your vitamin D absorption.
Over a billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient because of the indoor lifestyle and sun avoidance behavior. Your body must needs this to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.
You’ll get motivated to consume vitamin D safely from the sun and at the same time the sunlight coach provides sun protection, so you’ll never get sunburned again. The device retails for just over $150 and there are various colors to choose from.
Bottom line: Vitamin D is important. But most of us have no idea whether we have enough of it in our body. The Helios Smart Ring is designed to provide an answer to this question.
The ORII Voice Powered Smart Ring turns your finger into a smartphone. No, its not a misprint, the ring actually enables you to make calls, send texts, create reminders and calendar appointments simply by tapping on your ear!
ORII receives audio when paired to your smartphone through Bluetooth. When a call comes in, the ring transmits the audio through your finger. When you press your fingertip to your ear, you can hear the voice thanks to bone conduction technology. The dual microphones enable your voice to be heard. With access to Siri and Google Assistant, the ring can also handle many daily tasks.
The device is lightweight and comfortable to wear, splash-proof, and features anodized aluminum. It’s not built for chatterboxes though, and is designed more for short calls and texts on the go. Around an hour of continuous listening time should be enough to get you through the day.
Bottom line: You will certainly turn heads when people see you using the ORII. Tap your finger to your ear and you’ll be able to conduct telephone calls courtesy of bone conduction technology.
This is another device that works predominantly while you sleep. The wearable slips on your finger where it taps into capillaries to provide more accurate data that you would get from your typical wrist worn wearable.
In the morning you get info such as your heart rate, blood oxygen and details sleep statistics. Rather usefully, the device will also alert you via a vibration if it spots a drop in blood oxygen levels. Potential causes of this can be snoring or posture changes.
The app accompanying the smart ring will also spit out insights. These help to explain reasons for poor sleep and offer a suggestions on how to improve.
Bottom line: The new kid on the block, Got2Sleep is one of the best options for detailed sleep tracking statistics. It also presents itself as a lower-cost alternative to the Oura ring.
We are yet to see a major wearable brand enter the smart ring market. But when they do this will shake things up and top the list of the best options. It’s no secret that some wearable brands have been looking at the possibility.
One of these is Fitbit. They actually have a US patent to their name titled “Ring for optically measuring biometric data”.
According to the paperwork, the device would emit light at a red wavelength of 660 nm and an infrared wavelength of 940 nm. It would then calculate the difference in absorption of the emitted light at the red wavelength and the emitted light at the infrared wavelength.
This can be used to determine your blood oxygen levels as well as Sleep Apnea. Others potential uses include blood pressure, glucose level, lipid concentration, hematocrit level, or carboxyhemoglobin level.
Apple is also researching this area and it, too, has at least one patent to its name. An interesting one includes a rough sketch of what an “iRing” is supposed to look like “based in reality.”
The Apple text accompanying the filing describes the ring as follows:
A user controls an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source; the ring is worn on a first finger receives an input from a second finger, selects one of a plurality of touch events associated with the input, and wirelessly transmits a command associated with the touch event to the external electronic device.
The original submission “Devices, methods, and user interfaces for a wearable electronic ring computing device” can be viewed on the US Patent & Trademark Office.
The narrative describes a device comprising of a microphone for voice commands, a finger-ring mounted touchscreen, a speaker and a sensor for writing or character recognition. The thing would also provide haptic feedback. The rechargeable ring is intended to work in tandem with a host of other devices, whether a smartphone, apple TV or light dimmer.
In addition to its other functions, the iRing could also be used as an alternative to a computer mouse. It is possible that the device could carry biometric sensors such as a heart rate monitor or accelerometer as seen within the Apple Watch and other fitness wearables.
The patent goes further on to say:
A wearable ring device comprising: an annular member defining an aperture therethrough that is sized for receipt therein of a first finger of a user; a computer processor housed in the annular member; a touchscreen electrically connected to the computer processor and disposed at least partially at an outer peripheral surface of the annular member, wherein the touchscreen is configured to receive input from a second finger of the user; a wireless transceiver electrically connected to the computer processor and configured to communicate with at least one external electronic device; and a rechargeable power source for supplying power to the touchscreen, wireless transceiver, and computer processor.
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