I’m excited to be doing a webinar for Farnell / Element 14 on the 24th of September. The topic is wearable technology.
I will mostly be focusing on the potential of wearable rings but I will also cover bracelets and how I hope wearable technology can disrupt the resource hungry jewelry industry.
It’s a free webinar so sign up now
Understanding the mess
To someone that works with technology the jewelry industry is a strange beast. Each standard for measurement includes a margin of error by default. This margin of error exists due to an attempt at simplification however this simplification has removed accuracy, an engineer’s worst nightmare.
Many rings are hand polished, done on different machines that are setup slightly different. If a truly large number of rings are manufactured there could easily be an inconsistency as calibrated blanks (molds) could be used to set up each machine for each size of ring. ring size gauges also are not consistent, plastic ones deform when you push a ring on harder, and some are grooved in steps that also change accuracy from ring mandrel to ring mandrel.
Wearing Rings for newbies
If this is your first ring wearing your ring will be uncomfortable at first, be prepared for a few weeks of discomfort until eventually your finger gets used to having a new friend to build a relationship with. This relationship is a two way street, your ring gives you great power but it comes at a cost. There will be times when your ring causes you some discomfort, this is normal and expected. Your finger will begin molding itself to the ring, do not be shocked or concerned if you feel some initial discomfort, if it lasts more than a few weeks then you need a different size ring.
Your fingers may sweat and some people have a reaction to skin getting to moist, trapped dirt or other materials under ring. The wider the ring the more that this is an issue. Callous’ (thick skin from activities such as drumming) can cause also issues, be mindful of this.
It’s important to get a good measurement, if your ring size is wrong your ring will be uncomfortable, a few 10th of a mm can make the difference between a ridiculously comfy experience or a finger throttling nightmare. Getting a slightly larger ring is sensible, usually by +0.4mm increase of the ID (Inner Diameter).
The size of your finger changes, be careful swimming in cold places as this is the most common place to lose rings. Cold water can decrease the size of your knuckle/finger by ~0.4mm ID (Inner Diameter) in a few seconds.
Initial Measurement – How to get it right
Using the correct Gauge tool
We strongly recommend using a “wideband gauge tool”. If you can’t access a wideband gauge tool then adding 0.4mm(~½ size US) to the ID (Inner Diameter) might be good enough. Alpha NFC ring purchasers should add 0.8mm or so. As a general rule of thumb always round up if providing your ring size in US Ring sizes. Ideally we’d of asked for your size in MM but hindsight is always 20/20.
Why your knuckles are so important
Your knuckles are the second barrier for keeping the ring on your finger, the NFC Ring comes with a comfort fit so that means there is limited surface area, this means that larger rings can have a more comfortable feel in daily use. The reduction in surface area and radius of the ring makes it easier to slide over your knuckles than a ring that doesn’t have a comfort fit.
Knowing when to get your measurement
Get your ring measurement when your hand is warm and when you have been doing physical activity with your hand. Carrying loaded up shopping/carrier bags is usually quite a good one to prepare your finger for measurement.
Knowing when NOT to get your measurement
DO NOT get your ring measurement when your hand is cold or after you have been swimming. You might choose to get two rings, a summer and a winter ring, it depends on your life style.
Finger Size Changing
On an average day your finger ring size will fluctuate ~0.7mm on the ID (Inner Diameter). We call this ring size deviation and it is described with the symbol ±.
Factors that affect finger size deviation
- As you get hotter your finger will expand
- As more blood flows to the further parts of your body your finger will expand (caused by phsyical activity and body orientation)
- If your Body Mass increases your finger will expand
A standard fit ring has no radius where the ring meets the finger, it is completely flat.
A comfort fit ring has a radius, we use these for the NFC Ring project as our contact surface area is quite large compared to the average ring. Comfort Fit is measurement at the point where the skin makes contact with the ID which is the narrowest point on the ID. Comfort fit also reduces the chance of finger irritation and allows your finger to “breathe” more.
Different Widths of Rings
By Width here we mean the depth of the ring, the distance from the base of the finger towards the tip of the finger. The Thicker the ring the less comfortable it usually is, this is due to the increased surface area and therefore friction caused by the contact with the skin. To address this the NFC Ring uses a comfort fit however wearing any wide ring for long durations.
As you can see on the image above where the finger joins the base of the hand the Proper palmar digital arteries and nerves show a slight indent making this the narrowest point on the hand near the base however this point only extends to the point where the tendons and muscle begins. I have labelled this point with a thick black line. This size of this location can be identified by placing a tightly fitting ring on a finger then moving the ring towards the knuckle whilst rotating the ring. The ring will become more difficult to spin as it gets closer to the knuckle. This space is roughly 11 mm on an average male hand, if the ring is worn at this point the wearer benefits from a few things.
- The wearer is less likely to lose their ring as it is a “good fit”.
- The wearer won’t experience discomfort of the ring squashing their muscle under a tight fit.
There is however a disadvantage of wearing a ring in this position. The ring will fit deeper into the finger and the lumbrical muscle will create a void space when holding the ring up to a flat service. This could be resolved by wearing a thicker ring however this would make for a more uncomfortable experience as the ring would cause friction with surrounding fingers . This space is visible below:
This void can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful read. This problem is more prominent on the middle of the fingers on the hand, the solution often used by other fingers is to rotate the hand to get good contact. Be mindful outside fingers provide less security as they are easier to read.
Different edge radius (curved/rounded)
Rings tend to come with either a relatively brutal square edge rim or a soft radius. Square edge rings(Rings with none or very little radius) make for a slightly less comfortable daily wear but do ensure the ring is more difficult to lose. The soft radius on the NFC ring makes the ring easier to place on your finger and also more comfortable on a daily basis.
Some proposals for solutions in the future
Using a webcam to get a measurement
The lack of third dimension in existing webcam technology means it is only possible to discover the width of a finger at the point of ring contact, not it’s height, while it is very common for the width to be wider than the height it is possible that not having the height for measurements could cause some anguish.
The lack of pixels in existing webcam technology makes it difficult to take exact measurements against a reference point.
The lack of accessible objects to measure against is a current limitation. The best standard size object people have easy access to is a credit card with a magnetic strip, another option is a cell phone SIM card however these vary in size and access can be difficult.
What technology/technologies could be used to get a truly accurate measurement
- High resolution 3D scanner with point of reference for scale
- Kinect-esque camera and software
Note: One might also consider providing some way of measuring or controlling the state of the measurers hand IE if it’s cold or not.
What technologies can be used for a semi-accurate measurement on one axis
- 1080p+ Camera with a reference point such as cell phone app or magnetic strip
- 1080p+ Camera with well trained Haar Cascade classifiers (Machine Learning)
A ring that re-sizes the DI +-~10% based on
Why make a ring that can resize?
- Increase comfort
- Decrease possibility of losing ring
- Reduce # of rings required to enter onto market
- Reduction of Non-Ferrite Material in ring
- Decrease in Security due to reduction in Non-Ferrite Material
- Address the issue of the ring not being able to reach the reader when recessed.
If you ever travel with laser cut wood through airport security you may set off some alarms.
Sometimes after wood is laser cut the dark edges are treated with hydrogen peroxide, a common material used in making explosives. If the security guy swabs your wood (giggidi) then runs it through the particulate inspector it will set off alarms and the sturn woman with a clipboard will ask you lots of questions. No doubt you are smart enough to search for “Laser cut wood”, “explosives”, “screening”, “security” and hopefully you landed up here and now you can tell them what they detected and why they detected it…. GOOD JOB YOU!
I thought this was worth sharing as I set off a few alarms taking my NFC Ring test tool through airport security at MAN.
If this blog post saved your ass, feel free to check out the nfc ring
Funds spent: £74,232
Funds raised: £117,938
Days to go: 20
Rings to make: 4,412
KS Comments: 179
KS Messages: 712
Direct Emails: 187
Edits to KS campaign: 84
TV Interviews: 1
Radio Interviews: 4
Blog / Printed Press Interviews: 3
Meetings RE Sales: 12
Iterations of product: 827
Youtube Subscribers (NFCRing): 293
Youtube Subscribers (johnyma22): 100
Youtube Views (NFCRing): 14,000
Youtube Views (johnyma22): 112,042
Videos from third parties demoing item: 3
Links in from external sources: 37
Articles / Blogs discussing NFC Ring: 181,244
NFCRing.com Unique Views: 16,429
BuySellAd impressions: 2,285,676
BuySellAd CTR: 0.03%
Flights Booked: 12
Trains Booked: 4
* KS Failed payments
* Prototype delays for TV Interview
* Lack of Performance from Buy Sell Ads – 0.03% Avg Click Through…
* Lack of time to write or share anything.
* ROI from Reddit Ads.
* Lots of supportive tweets
* Lots of supportive press/media
* Lots of support and positive reviews from people who got demo rings.
Further Kickstarter stats so far:
Direct traffic (no referrer information) External 924 21.95% £25,938
Technology (Discover) Kickstarter 556 13.51% £15,962
nfcring.com External 396 9.48% £11,197.68
reddit.com External 284 7.29% £8,612.10
androidpolice.com External 165 4.03% £4,766.50
Search Kickstarter 167 3.89% £4,588
And with a £20 offer for early birds you would be insane not to buy an NFC Ring!
Many of you will have seen me with various weird looking prototypes on my finger over the last year and a lot of you probably thought I had reached the point of insanity way before my time, there were moments when I questioned this myself.. Probably the scariest moment was when I stepped down as the Managing Director of Primary Technology and invested most of my savings into a product that has never been proven and at that point I had only researched for a few months.
Once we started doing advertising (before kickstarter) we had 2 offers to capital fund the project.
One we had approached directly and we knew before the project started he was the guy we wanted on board so a flight over to SF, a calligrapher written letter and several dozen emails later and we had funding, more than we needed actually which gave us some additional marketing funds. Getting this funding was just the bump we needed. Anyway I basically sold 16% of the company for our funds, I’d of given a higher % probably mostly because the person involved is a good person and has the right mentality when it comes to the tech industry.
The other offer was a little less desirable and came after we secured more than enough funding, so that begs the question.. Why sacrifice 10% of the budget to kickstarter when we could have just launched directly? Kickstarter to me is more about building communities than it is raising cash, it’s also about validating products. Both of these things are key, without them the Ring is nothing, so the Kickstarter was right, VC funding is also nice and to be honest without the VC funding to help pay for prototype and testing we wouldn’t have been able to Kickstart.
Stepping into the unknown
NFC Rings aren’t like a normal product.. There is absolutely no way I can/could tell if people wanted function and form in jewelry, the only thing I could find that was a similar movement was the move from bracelets/bands to wrist watches.. There is a huge risk the NFC Ring is way ahead of it’s time and that my product might not be the one that proves to be widely adopted but I do feel that having technology embedded into a ring is the right thing to do.
Going for broke
My overall investment in this product is enough to make my eyes water so I don’t want to go too much into finances but safe to say it’s been close and only actually doable thanks to loans from schools (3d printer), investors (audrey) and the people I have worked with (Tanya, Chris B, Gareth, Don C, Filmaj, Chris & Rich, Tom, Chris (Yuan), Mark, Zero, William, Adam S).. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into this project and most of the time on a relatively tight budget for what we have accomplished, they deserve a lot of gratitude and credit.
What happens during the campaign?
During the kickstart campaign we will be working hard trying to build up support, funding and also adding final touches such as deciding with the community on the look of the kickstarter exclusive limited edition ring.. we expect a lot of questions
So what’s next for John?
Well assuming we hit our targets we have stretch goals for up to about £300k then after that we’re into the unknown and probably into rounds of funding, I hope we don’t go that far actually because I’d like to have some breathing time for the community to speak their mind and get involved in the project.. Tanya will be leading the project as she has a real solid understanding of our goals and a good mentality to continue growth..
- Get all your github repos
- Publishing to Npm on Git commit using Github Hooks and Travis
- Some good stuff
- McLear Crest / Coat of Arms V1
- I’m doing a webinar about wearable technology
- Ring Sizes And You – A hackers approach to making rings fit on your finger
- Laser cut wood and airport security
- NFC Ring in numbers so far
- After a year of hard work my kickstarter is live!