JCK Magazine reported yesterday (June 9) on a pair of companies making "connected" engagement rings that use NFC technology for a) tracking for loss or spousal infidelity (Gemporia's "fidelity engagement ring") and b) storing cherished images, audio and video (Galatea's Momento Diamond engagement ring, pictured above).
While jewelry like this may seem comical to some, I think there is a valid use case for technology that allows you to track valuable items, such as a ring, in the case of loss or theft. There are apps that allow people to track their lost keys, phones, bicycles and all sorts of personal belongings, and they seem to have decent traction in the marketplace.
If surreptitiously tracking your spouse via their engagement ring or wedding band is the only way you can feel secure, you have bigger issues a tracking device won't solve.
I’m pretty bad at misplacing small items, so even being able to track something around the house would be handy. I do think there are also times where tracking a person’s location can be helpful. For instance, being able to find friends in a crowded place when you’re trying to meet up, or when people go hiking in the back country and get lost… those are fairly deliberate use cases and times when I think it’s great being able to track someone down. However, infusing an engagement ring with a tracking device that your partner may or may not know about is a little out of my comfort zone. I suppose if I were lost in the woods and wearing a giant diamond ring, I would appreciate someone being able to find me, but other than that it feels a little invasive.
Gemporia CEO Steve Bennett is quoted in this article as saying, “This ring could safeguard the institution of marriage,” but I think if installing a tracking device on your partner is the only way you can feel comfortable when they’re out of sight, then you probably have some bigger issues that need to be dealt with, and no tracking device can solve those.
I do find the concept of the Momento ring quite interesting. The article compares it to an interactive locket by allowing you to store audio, video and images on a ring through NFC. There’s a certain level of sentiment and nostalgia that this idea brings forward and I could see it appealing to certain people.
In the case of Gemporia, the tracking ring was first developed for loss/theft but then proved to have appeal as a spousal tracking device. Technology and R&D often take funny turns like this. Viagra was originally intended for men with heart conditions. A “different” benefit later came to light. Another example of a product with unintended benefits is Play-Doh, which was originally a wallpaper cleaner (thanks Google!).
I could see the Momento ring -- which stores sentimental audio, video and images -- appealing to certain people.
I can think of a number of ways a “connected ring” could be used other than just for storing images or tracking location:
- Using it has a remote to control presentations or even your TV is certainly one way.
- If it were able to track hand movement you could use it to control things like turning lights or the radio on and off with a simple hand gesture.
- You could also use it like a key fob for unlocking doors rather than having to fumble for your keys, or automatically unlock your phone when you pick it up.
- Connect it to your phone and combine with some biometrics to enable tap to pay!
- Throw the same technology in a diamond studded bracelet and now you have an extra fancy fitbit.
A lot of this connected technology already exists -- there just haven’t been many cases of this technology being integrated with high-end jewellery. It could be integrated with many different forms of wearable tech, you just need to pick the right wearables for the right market in order for people to want to use it.