If you like wearable technology then you shoulda put a ring on it. Wearable tech is more than clunky smart watches and step-counting fitness bands, which is why Kovert smart jewellery aims to keep you connected without sacrificing style.
Wearable technology is set to be the next big thing, referring to any item you carry on your person that can connect to your phone or the Internet. Google is on board with its new Android Wear system, but so far devices like the Samsung Gear Live and LG G watch are all high technology without cracking high fashion.
Which is where Shoreditch-based UK startup Kovert comes in, with plans for a jewellery box full of designer trinkets that talk to your phone.
The idea for Kovert came to founder and CEO Kate Unsworth when she was sat in a cafe surrounded by people who, like her, were on their own waiting for someone. Instead of interacting with each other, those people were all engrossed in their phones. With a background in both technology as a developer and fashion as a model, Unsworth was inspired to find a way of being connected to the important messages you can't afford to miss while still being present in the moment with the people around you.
Kovert comes in three parts: the tech pack that communicates with your phone, the jewellery itself, and an app on your smartphone.
The tech pack contains the electronics to communicate with your phone. It vibrates to notify you of a call, text, email or WhatsApp message. Made from ceramics, it has a faceted surface to look like a precious stone, in keeping with the premium look of the jewellery. The picture above shows a prototype, and in fact the tech pack can be removed and set into different pieces of jewellery so you don't have to wear the same thing all the time.
Further down the line, collaborations with designers will see signature pieces widen the range of jewellery available.
In theory the tech pack can be set into anything, not just rings or necklaces; Kovert is considering premium clothing and furniture too. The tech pack charges wirelessly, and Kovert has plans for a wireless charging jewellery box.
Finally, the app on your phone allows you to set different profiles for different situations, specifying which messages you want to be notified about, and from whom. For example, you could set up a meeting profile that only notifies you when your boss gets in touch but filters out everyone less important. Or a profile for after work could tell you about messages from friends and family, but not colleagues.
If you're waiting for a specific message, you can still relax with a profile that shuts out the rest of the world, safe in the knowledge you've set up a special filter to let you know about any message that contains a specific word, even when the sender isn't on your approved list.
The first Kovert ring is being offered for sale to a select coterie of celebrities, fashionistas and all-round stylish sorts in the next few weeks. Like Google Glass, the lucky inner circle have to pay the full £320 price (around $550 or AU$590), but will get founding member benefits in future. Kovert jewellery will then go on sale to the public in time for Christmas.
Others trying to come up with smart jewellery include Cuff, which vibrates when a friend or family member squeezes their own Cuff jewellery, and the Netatmo June bracelet that protects you from spending too much time in the sun.