June 19, 2014


Ringly: Wearable Technology That’s Actually Wearable

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Despite making up fifty percent of its name, the “wearable” in “wearable technology” is of little concern to most manufacturers. It’s been suffering from what I like to call the Fitch Complex; like the “Fitch” in “Abercrombie & Fitch,” the “wearable” in “wearable technology” has been unduly neglected. There’s no more reason to ignore the wearable aspect of wearable technology than there is to ignore Abercrombie’s forsaken counterpart, but that’s been the reality of this burgeoning market of wearables. So when Christina Mercando came up with the idea for Ringly – a ring and a piece of wearable technology that was conceived of by starting with the style and design of the product and creating the technology around that – she was automatically dubbed a visionary. Unlike tech companies who make wearable technology (“they start with the technology first and then design around it,” Mercando said to Elle Magazine), this is seemingly a fashion brand making wearable technology.

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So a new piece in wearable technology that “doesn’t look much like tech at all,” notes Business Insider. But is it practical? Whereas some innovations in wearables can monitor one’s heart rate, or notify someone through social media whether a friend is nearby, Ringly doesn’t seem to serve such practical purposes. After hooking up the ring to your phone, it allows you to customize the notifications so that the ring will vibrate in different patterns as specific calls, texts or updates come in. You can customize it to notify you when only a certain person contacts you, you can hook it up to any apps on your phone, and it can also serve as a device to help find your phone. It’s all very neat, but is it necessary? Not really.

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It’s intriguing, but in the same way that mood rings were intriguing back in the early 90s. An initially thrilling concept, the novelty of the mood ring soon faded as we realized that we really don’t need a ring to tell us how we’re feeling; we are, after all, the ones feeling it. And Ringly is similarly appealing, as all new forms of technology initially tend to be. But how useful is it, really, to have a ring that notifies you of a text, when your phone can do the exact same thing? Why spread your notifications out amongst different devices, when you can limit them all to one device? The only difference is that Ringly won’t display the actual text message, thereby, ultimately, adding another gratuitous step to the way we receive notifications.

The problem with Ringly is that it’s cool, but not cool enough. It’s perhaps the least tech-looking of all the wearable technology out there thus far, but I still wouldn’t choose to wear it. Call me when Delfina Delettrez starts getting involved.

Upon Ringly’s release in the fall, Rachel will try it out for a week and will report back with a follow-up post. Stay tuned for her coverage.

text by: Rachel Hodin










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