Smart rings may be the next frontier for wearables

Are smart rings still a thing? Were they ever? While something of a blip on the screen in years past, smart rings kind of got lost in the jumble of emerging wearables — eclipsed by a galaxy of flashy smartwatches and fitness tracker bracelets. Yet, these tiny, unobtrusive wearables hung on in a kind of technical and popular limbo for a long time. Some smart rings are designed as fashion items, while others — some not even designed for full-time wear — fulfill a variety of specific purposes like NFC payments, sending and receiving notifications, controlling your smartphone, fitness functionality, and sleep tracking.

While they haven’t made as big a splash as a must-have item like the Apple Watch, perhaps it is time for smart rings to emerge as favored wearables with their own following. Smart rings can be more comfortable and useful than watches or bracelets because they are less obtrusive. And let’s face it, not everyone likes wearing something on their wrist all day and night. There are a number of smart rings out there and we have gathered a few models we like.

ŌURA Ring

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The Oura Ring is an elegant minimalist smart ring that resembles a wedding band. It specifically tracks your activity, sleep, and readiness 24/7. It registers body temperature while you sleep and tracks your body temperature baseline and any variations to compare values over time. Infrared LEDs measure blood volume pulse from your finger’s palmar arteries. Its 3D accelerometer and gyroscope track the intensity of body movement for active and inactive intervals. The ring generates Readiness insights to help you aim for peak performance and determine when to rest and recharge. It shows how your body recovers from exercise, stress, and fatigue and reveals your heart rate variability. Using sleep as a springboard, Oura offers daily goals and helps you to balance activities to achieve optimal action and rest over time. In addition, it tracks daily activities, calories, and steps. Using the associated mobile app, you can also set daily targets. A new feature called Moment focuses on meditation with on-demand meditation tracking that measures resting heart rate and heart rate variability to measure the impact of meditation sessions, practices and effects on the body. The ring comes in silver, black, and Stealth in Balance or Heritage shapes. A Diamond model is $999.

Keydex NFC Multi-function Ring

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This lovely ring comes in three colors and patterns made from hard, scratch-resistant ceramic. This material avoids the allergic reactions people may experience with metallic rings, while at the same time minimizing signal and antenna interference. Certified to be IP68, the ring is waterproof and can be submerged at 30 meters for up to one hour. Working in conjunction with an iOS or Android app, you can use the ring to instantly unlock smartphone screens, edit contacts, check websites, send texts, and more. The Keydex is not a fitness ring but concentrates on letting you customize and perform actions on your phone.

Ares Smart Ring

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If you crave bling with a side of electronic notifications, you can’t miss with the Ares Smart Rings. This jewelry is made from 925 sterling silver and can serve as a notification hub for new text messages, email, calendar events, and incoming calls. Every ceramic Gem on your Ares ring houses a circuit board, vibration motor, battery, and a concealed LED light. The ring alerts you if you forgot your phone while out and about and features a Simple-Tap SOS function that lets you quickly connect with friends or family. It is water and dust resistant, supports wireless charging, and connects with a dedicated smartphone app.

Lycos Life NFC Smart Ring

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The Lycos Life Ring has a plain but fresh look and comes in alpenglow orange or coral red, while offering security and accessibility on your finger. It features two programmable NFC chips that can save and transfer messages and data via a connected Android app. With a single tap, you can send messages, share contact information, and keep communications simple. You can use it to securely log in to apps and websites on your phone, unlocking them without a password. You can add additional security to your mobile device using your fingerprint, passcodes, ring interaction or all three. The Tap2Transfer collaboration feature between Lycos devices is enabled by a simple tap from a Lycos Life device to a phone, collaborating via the Lycos Life app to control settings, tighten phone security, and maximize functionality. It is compatible with Android 4.3 and up and NFC enabled devices.

McLear Ceramic Programmable Smart Ring Eclipse

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You can use the McLear Ceramic NFC Ring to do anything from unlocking doors and mobile phones to transferring information and connecting people together. It comes with two NFC tag inlays sealed inside the ring, which let you program each to do different things like unlock your phone or your NFC-enabled door lock or store custom settings for your mobile device.

Pomya Smart NFC Multifunctional Ring

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Through the NFC radio frequency tech, you can achieve the main function of the Pomya NFC smart ring: To privately store and exchange information, mobile content, and data. Using the ring’s companion app, you can lock and unlock programs, select applications, and touch the phone to launch applications.

Go2sleep Ring

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The Go2Sleep ring is the opposite of bling. It is designed as a medical device to wear unobtrusively, giving you insight into your physical condition as you sleep, and letting you monitor your sleep time, stage, AHI index, heart rate, blood oxygen, and restlessness. The ring uses the capillaries on your fingers to help Go2Sleep provide significantly more accurate detection data in a more comfortable wearable. For example, the Go2Sleep ring can work through the app on your phone to detect whether your blood oxygen saturation is lower than optimal, trigger an alert, and have the ring vibrate to awaken you. If you set up a Facebook account and synchronize the data to your smartphone, you can add other family members to the monitoring list. The free iOS and Android apps offer a graphic sleep report and trends for heart rate, motion, and blood oxygen level.

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