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If it feels like the smartwatch came and went, that’s because it did. The current iteration of the device boiled down to something that was too expensive to essentially act as nothing more than a notification screen for the other device sitting very close by in your pocket. However, just because the smartwatch may have lost its luster, doesn’t mean wearable computers have. A newly-funded Indiegogo campaign will try its hand at the casual wearable computer market with Smarty Ring, a smart ring that mimics the notification functionality of a smartwatch, but isn’t as gaudy or expensive.
The design of the ring itself doesn’t look any better or worse than, for instance, Samsung’s $300 Galaxy Gear. However, if forced to make the choice between wearing one of the two devices, the Smarty Ring is at least smaller and less noticeable, and won’t look too weird if the display is turned inward.
The front of the ring contains a small green or blue LED display with iconography that is illuminated if the corresponding service on your phone has an alert — texts and emails, call notifications, and social media updates. The back of the ring contains basic controls so you can manipulate your phone while it’s still in your pocket. The controls are standard, but useful: answer or decline incoming calls, make outgoing calls to preset numbers (you’ll need headphones connected to your phone if you want to leave it in your pocket, of course), change which song you’re listening to, and turn on your phone’s camera.
Though functionality is limited compared to the Galaxy Gear, you can manipulate the device with the same hand on which it’s worn, rather than having to bring your other hand to the wrist on which the smartwatch is worn.
The Smarty Ring also acts as an alert for when you misplace or lose your phone, and it beeps when your phone is over almost 100 feet away. The ring is also waterproof, and made from surgical quality steel.*The ring is configurable with a companion app, and is charged wirelessly.
If you’re into this sort of thing, head on over to the Indiegogo campaign page. There is admittedly something appealing about switching songs by slightly moving your thumb toward your ring finger.