Tired of looking at your smartphone screen?
Origami Labs, a small team of based in Hong Kong, claims to have developed an easy way to reduce screen fatigue.
The team has made ORII, a voice-powered smart ring which enables the user to answer phone calls and send text messages without having to take out their smartphone. The ring uses a Bluetooth connection to receive audio from a smartphone. By bringing the ring close to their ear, a user can hear audio through sound vibrations being transmitted through the finger.
The Origami team says that similar technology is also used in hearing aid devices. Sound vibrations through the finger are gentle and there are no health risks associated with this technology.
In a video posted on Kickstarter, Origami Labs CEO Kevin Johan Wong says that the future of technology is shifting away from touch to voice powered devices. He also discusses ways in which the uses of mobile devices are changing. “It is changing from a world in which we use screens and touch, to voice-powered technologies,” he says.
By wearing the ORII, the user can send texts and talk while on the move. It also enables one to hear clear sound despite some noise in the background because the finger blocks it out and the audio is sent directly to the inner ear through the finger. If the user in a meeting, they can still answer their phone in a private and discreet manner without anyone else overhearing the voice on the other end of the call.
The smart ring uses a voice assistant already available on smartphones, such as Siri and Google Assistant, to handle various daily tasks such as setting reminders, recording, translating, navigating, scheduling, voice searching, posting to Twitter and reading messages.
The final design for the smart ring was made by award-winning Italian product designer Andrea Ponti. The ORII has a scratch-proof anodized aluminium finish and is currently available in four colors: sandblasted silver, metallic dark gray, matte black and armor red. It comes with a compact charging clip, and the 50 mAh battery in the device provides one hour of talk time and can stay for 45 hours on standby. The ring is compatible with Android 4.4 or above as well as Apple’s iOS 9 or above. The ring has four LED lights so one can have customized ORII notifications. It is splash proof so it can withstand water while the user is washing their hands. However, the company doesn’t recommend taking a shower or swimming with the ring on.
How you use ORII to make a phone call:
The team faced several challenges in making the ring because a voice powered device that could be worn on the finger had never been made before. They encountered certain restrictions regarding size and weight of the final product so it could stay comfortably on the hand. Many bone conduction devices also have sound leakage so people close by can overhear the audio on the device. Origami Labs claim to have overcome this problem. By sending audio through the finger, they were able to use a smaller actuator at lower power output to reduce sound leakage. They were also able to cut down the distance the audio needs to travel, thereby, increasing audio quality.
Origami Lab has currently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project where it has already been pledged $255,376, an amount considerably more than their $30,000 goal.