A ring caught my eye this morning.
Well I am not ordinarily one for bling these days: two decades ago, you may well have espied a fellow walking the streets of Leeds with a veritable treasure trove of Gothic jewelry adorning his personage, but then (a) I was, as you may have guessed, two decades younger in those days, and you’re permitted to look faintly outlandish in your early twenties and (b) it was Leeds, which had taken the Gothic look to its bosom and thus on the whole in that city my attire was not so much outlandish as de rigeur.
Anyway, before I start to wallow in reminiscences of watching Gethsemane and Die Laughing at The Duchess, let’s get back to this ring. Its purpose, you see, is not purely decorative. It unlocks your phone. It unlocks doors. It will able to share codes, contact information and URLs. It has its own app. It can be set to receive your public bitcoin address so that you can receive payments. It uses NFC.
It is the NFC Ring.
This ring, the brainchild of Mr John McLear
, is a titanium/steel mix and contains two transmitters within a pair of Kevlar-styled black strips. McLear solved the tricky problem of the metal blocking the RFID signal from the transmitter by using an intermediate layer between the ring and the inlay; a second inlay was added to solve the security issue “by creating an interference area stopping any powerful antennas being able to complete a full induction process and by using different hand gestures for different actions (closed fist for public, open hand for private).”
Which, to my mind, represents a rather neat and clever solution.
There are now a number of videos online featuring the NFC Ring in action, including, on the SlashGear website
, one of a man unlocking a door, which is unfortunately just as exciting as it sounds. But exciting it may not be: simple and practical it is.
Given the rise in NFC-enabled handsets, this ring – expected to retail at around $20 – may be appearing at just the right time.
Now if we can only get some momentum in the NFC payments space…