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Smart rings represent the next frontier in wearable technology. While they might not currently enjoy the same level of popularity as smartwatches, bands, and earbuds, their promising future is evident due to their innovative design. Fueled by startup initiatives, the smart ring industry has been steadily growing for a decade. The recent revelation of Apple’s smart ring patent and the introduction of the Amazon Echo Loop are expected to propel the industry to new heights. Explore more about this emerging technology

What is a Smart Ring?

A Smart Ring is a compact electronic device worn on the finger, equipped with mobile components such as sensors and NFC chips. Its primary functions include tracking daily activities and serving as a peripheral tool for mobile devices. While commonly used for monitoring activities, it surpasses the role of traditional wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands, offering diverse applications beyond simple step tracking or smartphone extension.

What Functions Can a Smart Ring Perform?

Smart ring devices have a wide range of applications, with prevalent usage found in the health and fitness domain. However, they extend beyond this to include practical functionalities such as digital payments, online security, and access control. As the smart ring market evolves, an increasing number of use cases are expected to emerge.

In this segment, let’s explore some common practical applications of smart rings. It’s noteworthy that most smart rings aren’t limited to a singular function. For example, one smart ring can simultaneously monitor both your sleep patterns and daily activities. Others may combine these capabilities with additional features like contactless payments and online security.

1. Monitoring Sleep Patterns

Utilizing advanced sleep-tracking technology, smart rings, such as the Sleep Tracking Ring by Motiv, are designed to meticulously observe sleep patterns. This includes assessing the duration of sleep, identifying disturbances, and analyzing time spent in various sleep cycles. Through these insights, smart rings offer personalized recommendations for users to align their routines with their natural circadian rhythm, the inherent 24-hour body clock.

Smart rings have gained popularity for sleep monitoring due to their user-friendly nature, being less restrictive and cumbersome compared to alternative wearables like smartwatches or wrist-worn fitness bands. Notable players in the smart ring category include GO2SLEEP, Oura, Motiv, and THIM.

2. Fitness Tracking

Fitness tracking stands as a prominent feature within the repertoire of smart ring capabilities. These innovative devices are adept at monitoring daily activities, encompassing metrics such as step count, distance covered during walking sessions, and the estimation of calories expended.

3. Health & Wellness Management

Smart rings excel in the realm of health and wellness management, boasting advanced technologies that enable the tracking of vital health parameters. From monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen levels (SpO2) to gauging blood pressure and glucose levels, these devices offer comprehensive insights into one’s well-being.

Moreover, certain smart rings delve deeper into holistic wellness by assessing stress levels through electrodermal activity (EDA), akin to the methodology employed in lie detector tests to discern emotions and cognitive states through skin responses. One notable example is the Moodmetric Ring, which aids users in effectively managing stress levels for optimal mental and emotional well-being.

4. Contactless Payments

Witnessing a surge in popularity, the contactless payment system has become a hallmark trend within the smart ring domain. Leading the charge are innovative products like McLEAR and K Ring, redefining how we make transactions.

With a contactless payment ring, the convenience of tap-to-pay transactions extends globally, operating below the local floor limit on Visa and MasterCard contactless payment terminals. Remarkably, this transformative technology has garnered support from various banks in countries such as the U.K., Japan, France, Netherlands, Russia, and Australia. Customers now enjoy the seamless experience of credit and debit payments on Visa- and Mastercard-enabled payment terminals, eliminating the need for a smartphone or bank account number. The process is as simple as hovering the smart ring over a point of sale (POS) terminal, completing the transaction effortlessly.

5. Online Security

With cybersecurity becoming increasingly paramount, smart rings are stepping up to the challenge. Take Motiv Ring, for example, which pioneers two-factor authentication (2FA) for web log-ins, leveraging its app and preset gesture control for added security.

As the landscape evolves, biometric authentication emerges as a cutting-edge solution, offering a superior alternative to traditional passwords and PINs. Motiv leads the charge, experimenting with beta tests for fingerprint scanning and facial recognition as authentication methods, ensuring robust protection against cyber threats.

Advancements are underway, exploring biometric authentication based on a user’s electrocardiogram (ECG) and gait, revolutionizing online security measures. With features like ECG-based authentication, smart rings promise enhanced resilience against hacking, identity theft, phishing, and other malicious attacks, ushering in a new era of safeguarded digital interactions.

6. Remote Control

Smart rings offer a seamless solution to device management, empowering users with versatile capabilities to control their smartphones and other devices effortlessly. From setting alarms to receiving message or call notifications, and even managing music playback, smart rings serve as invaluable tools to reduce screen time and boost productivity.

7. Smart Key

Smart rings have evolved to function as intelligent keys, exemplified by the Token Ring. With an embedded optical sensor, the Token Ring allows users to effortlessly unlock doors to their homes, cars, or offices, eliminating the need for conventional physical keys, access cards, or badges. An added layer of security is implemented by automatically locking the door or preventing access when the smart ring is removed from the finger. This innovative feature establishes a robust security system, ensuring exclusive access to one’s home, car, office, gym, or any connected space. Notably, the Token Ring seamlessly integrates with HID SEOS digital access systems, enhancing its compatibility with existing security frameworks.

8. Transit Pass

Numerous NFC smart rings can function as travel passes or tickets for public transportation, seamlessly interacting with tap-to-pay card reader terminals at transit gates. These smart rings essentially operate as stored-value cards (SVC), ensuring the monetary value of the travel fund is readily accessible without the need for third-party credit or debit account support or network connections. An example of this functionality is demonstrated by the K Ring, which facilitates such transactions for Transport for London services and a majority of National Rail services in the city.

How Does a Smart Ring Work?

Understanding the mechanics of how smart rings encapsulate electronics within such a small form factor is intriguing. Unsurprisingly, the marvel behind this compact wearable involves not just one but several technologies, encompassing an NFC chip, sensor, Bluetooth chip, battery, microcontroller, and light indicator.


NFC, or near field communication, is a wireless connection that uses magnetic field induction to facilitate communication between devices within a short range, either by bringing them a few centimetres close to each other or when they are touched. This makes NFC-enabled transactions very safe from malicious activities. NFC technology has been around since the 1980s, and it’s proven successful with common applications in smartphones, laptops, transport cards, access cards, POS terminals, digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), and more.


Sensors are responsible for tracking whatever parameters a smart ring has. Depending on what functionalities smart ring brands want to include in their devices, different sensors may be embedded into the ring.

Smart rings integrate a range of sensors, encompassing a heart or pulse monitor (typically infrared or optical), 3-axis accelerometer (for monitoring activities such as walking, running, and sleeping), gyroscope (to detect movement and balance), EDA sensor (for tracking emotions, feelings, and cognition, including stress levels), SpO2 sensor (for monitoring blood oxygen levels), glucose sensor, and NTC thermistor (for tracking body temperature).


Bluetooth is essential for connecting the data gathered by the sensors in a smart ring to a smartphone app. This facilitates the presentation of reports and recommendations by smart ring brands in a user-friendly format. While some smart rings provide raw data recorded by the sensors, more advanced ones analyze this data to offer personalized recommendations to users.

Advantages and Drawbacks

In addition to their tracking features, smart rings offer various advantages and drawbacks that users should consider. Here are some of them:


To be honest, smart rings don’t match the extensive functionalities of smartwatches. However, the choice ultimately depends on how you intend to use the device. If you seek continuous daily tracking, a smart ring offers a more comfortable option. For real-time metrics, a smartwatch might be suitable, but it lacks the convenience of sleep monitoring.

Battery Life

Smart rings consume less power compared to other wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands due to their lack of screens. Despite having smaller batteries, most smart rings boast a longer lifespan, lasting between 3 to 7 days, whereas smartwatches and fitness bands typically endure only 1 to 2 days per charge.


Despite their small size, smart rings are more compact, lightweight, and less burdensome, providing a more comfortable experience, especially for activities like contactless payments and fitness tracking. The value becomes evident in their frictionless and intuitive operation, aligning with the promises of “smart” and “contactless.”


In terms of aesthetics, smart rings, given their minuscule size, might go unnoticed. Even when noticed, most smart rings feature elegant designs crafted from hypoallergenic clinical plastic. Some even offer replaceable metallic shells in various colours.

However, it’s essential to note that certain smart rings can be bulky. While some are as slender as wedding bands, others have a less appealing build. If sizing is a concern, many smart ring companies provide a sizing kit before purchase to ensure you get the right fit.


While most smart wearables share similar functionalities, smart rings have a privacy advantage. Some smartwatches can audibly convey information or display messages on the screen, making it easy to unintentionally disclose personal data to those nearby.


The smart ring sector is grappling with considerable design challenges in creating highly capable devices. Consequently, smart rings tend to be expensive, especially those with advanced features. For instance, the Motiv Ring is priced at $200, and the Oura Ring at $300. Conversely, some smart rings with basic functions are more budget-friendly. For example, the McLEAR contactless payment ring is priced at $90, while the NFC Ring, offering phone control, data storage, and door opening capabilities, costs a mere $18.

What is the Best Smart Ring?

Selecting the optimal smart ring depends on your intended use. Currently, various categories are available, including several NFC smart rings on Amazon, and a surge in branded smart rings. Here are some noteworthy options:

Oura Smart Ring

The Oura Ring stands out as a leading sleep-tracking smart ring designed to monitor circadian rhythm and nightly rest. Equipped with sensors tracking daily activities, pulse, and body temperature, this smart ring boasts a 7-day battery life. It is offered in silver, black, and matte black finishes across three styles, with a retail price starting from $300.

Motiv Smart Ring

Renowned for its slim and lightweight design, the Motiv Ring excels as a fitness tracker. Monitoring daily activities, it tracks metrics such as steps, distance, calories, and resting and active heart rate. Doubling as an online security tool for website logins, it is waterproof up to 50 feet, with a battery life of up to 72 hours and a 90-minute full charge. The Motiv Ring is available in silver, black, and rose gold, priced at $200.

Token Ring

In the realm of digital payments and contactless access, the Token Ring emerges as a key player. Utilizing an optical sensor to detect its wearer, it automatically locks when taken off, ensuring secure access and payments. Capable of storing credit card accounts for POS terminal payments, the Token Ring is available in brushed silver, black carbon, and rose gold finishes, priced at $349.


Pioneering the market as the first contactless payment ring, the McLEAR Ring is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Connected to a credit or debit account, it facilitates contactless payments at POS terminals. Crafted from hypoallergenic zirconia ceramic for durability, it is waterproof and scratch-resistant, with a cost of $90.

Are Smart Rings Worth It?

Smart rings, while still emerging, show significant promise as a wearable technology. Their potential benefits extend to various user types, from health and fitness enthusiasts to daily commuters and tech-savvy shoppers. While smart rings haven’t achieved mainstream status universally, their growth in certain markets and the entry of major tech companies suggest a trajectory towards broader consumer adoption soon.

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