We’ve recently seen small wearable gadgets that allow users to tell the time and check their smartphone notifications. Smart watches and rings may not have become mainstream yet but Ring by Logbar may be persuasive enough to encourage more early adopters.
This new piece of tech can, as you may imagine, be worn on the forefinger but it isn’t just a fashion statement. Ring can also be used to control items around the home, open apps and even make payments via fingertip control.
The ring, which detects the movement of the digit within it, allows the user to make simple gestures which are then translated into actions. For instance, using a finger to draw the shape of a camera will open the camera app on a connected phone or tablet. Draw a rectangular shape and the ring will know that you mean an envelope and open your email.
Even more interestingly, the device will allow a wearer to air draw letters and numbers, thereby converting finger movements into text.
Anyone wearing a ring, which is expected to retail for around £87 ($145), can press a button on its side to activate it. The device works off a battery (which, alas, cannot be recharged and is only good for about a thousand gestures) and provides LEDs, motion sensors, a touch sensor and a vibration pad. The device is also Bluetooth-enabled.
Once up and running the user can choose which services to integrate with, such as Facebook and email. Notifications can then be set up, such as a vibration or flashing LED to signify a new email or posting.
Some of the gestures usable by the ring are pre-installed but the device can be further customised by the wearer.
Despite the usefulness of notifications, vibrations and flashing lights, one of the features that may pique interest is the ability to use the ring to make payments. The device connects to Apple’s iBeacon app via Bluetooth. When the wearer receives a bill the built-in GPS can identify their location and identify the retail outlet they are currently in. The ring wearer can then trace over the numbers on the bill they have received in order to confirm the payment.
“One Ring to rule them all, One ring to find them; One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
This new device sounds really cool in many respects, despite the fact that it is quite expensive given the limit of around 1,000 gestures before the juice runs out. But I also think there may be some security implications here which are applicable to any new wearable tech that comes onto the market.
For all the marketing I see for such new devices there is little (or should that be no?) commentary on the security of the device.
I wonder what would happen if someone were to acquire your ring or smartwatch, either via theft or your misplacement of the device.
What controls or limitations are built-in to stop a third party from picking up your ring and then opening your email, or using your bling to pay for their slap-up meal in a plush restaurant?
I stand to be corrected but, for now, I have seen nothing to make me think that such devices are a secure means of taking my private messages and electronic cash out of the house.
I think devices like this should serve as a reminder that tech always races ahead of any thoughts on securing that which we have just invented. Surely, in this age of data breaches and other massive attacks, businesses should be considering all forms of security from the outset of any new project?
What do you think?