A new smart ring wants to be your go-to wearable for controlling your smart home, booking a taxi and even unlocking your car.
The Aina Ring has popped up on Kickstarter promising to bring smartphone-like control to your fingertips using a combination of dual noise cancelling microphones, an OLED edge display and an innovative gesture-based system.
Essential reading: Motiv smart ring review | Oura smart ring review
The team behind it says it's spent two years of research and development coming up with something that's apparently faster than interacting with a smartphone screen or smart speaker to get everyday routine tasks done.
It works through swiping on touch sensitive areas built into the ring design that are able to recognise four swipe gestures in four different directions. Those swipes are detected by touch and motion sensors with the onboard software trained to recognise how you've swiped on the ring and know when you've accidentally swiped.
When paired with your smartphone and the companion app over Bluetooth, you can assign those swipes to unlock a bunch of different app shortcuts. Among the ones being talked up are controlling your smart home tech through IFTTT, booking cabs with integration for Uber already supported, the ability to unlock host of cars if you live in the US (supported cars can be seen here) and unlocking devices using Bluetooth.
From the slither of a display on the ring you'll be able to accept and reject those app shortcuts and over time the idea is that the ring can use artificial intelligence to predict what shortcuts you'll like to use over the period of the day. So it will learn when you fall asleep and turn off your smart lights or prompt you to book a taxi at a certain time offering those app shortcuts on the ring.
With mics and speakers also onboard, the hardware can unlock something called Near Field Directional Sound. That enables you to take phone calls and access voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant when you raise your fingertips towards your ear to help channel the sound.
It will also double as a basic fitness tracker and offer smartphone notification support. There's also talk of offering contactless payments and the ability to turn the ring into an access card for use on public transport or offices.
The smart ring itself looks very different to the form factors of existing rings like the Oura and Motiv showing off a larger, more rectangular look. Set to weigh in at just 15g, the splash-proof wearable will be available in a host of different looks including a rose gold model along with less blingy matte and glossy options. It will require a sizing kit before you can get it on your finger.
The iOS and Android-friendly ring will be powered by a Qualcomm processor and features a 50mAh battery that should give you 36 hours in standby mode and 1.5-2.5 hours of talk time depending on usage.
As we mentioned, the Aina Ring is currently live as a campaign on Kickstarter. It's already successfully raised the money it was chasing to make it a reality with plenty of days to spare. If you still want in, you'll need to pledge a minimum of $249 to secure one of the rings.
A final prototype has apparently been built and the aim is to start shipping in February 2020. It's not the first smart ring we've seen crop up on crowdfunding websites, a place where many have subsequently been delayed or even cancelled.
So while it does sound like the team behind Aina are quite far down the line with getting its piece of smart jewellery out of the door, recent history says we'd err on the side of caution that it will hit that shipping date. After all, building a smart ring this sophisticated is undoubtedly going to be a challenge. We hope the team behind Aina can cram all of that functionality in and can really make it work.
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