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Wearable Tech

Ö smart ring displays Elvish, notifications for high-tech Frodos

The Aurduboy Ö smart ring could be coming soon to a finger near you with scrolling Elvish graphics, email alerts and timekeeping capabilities.

Arduboy O ring
One smart ring to rule them all. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Kevin Bates likes to shrink things. The maker of the Arduboy interactive business card already created a miniscule playable Tetris game. Now he's turned his attention toward the most dainty of wearables: the smart ring. The Ö ring is a Bluetooth smart ring sporting a tiny 64x32 monochrome OLED display with a touch-button control.

The Ö ring can display animations along with phone notifications. It offers about four hours of continuous display time, though you're more likely to use it off and on. It has about a day's worth of standby time. That's not terrible when you consider how small the thing is. There's not exactly a lot of room to cram battery power into there.

Smart rings have mostly been dwelling in the realm of crowdfunding, as we've seen with the MOTA SmartRing. The nice thing about the Ö ring is that there's a video showing it up and running and in action as a working prototype housed in a 3D-printed casing. The best part about the video is when it shows the ring scrolling through the Elvish text from the One Ring from "Lord of the Rings" as a demonstration of its ability to display graphics.

The ring is chunky and the display looks bright and easy to read. It's still too early to tell if the concept of smart rings will even catch on with the general public, but it could be an interesting alternative to much larger smartwatches. If it comes in at a low enough price point, it could be a fun what-the-hell-why-not sort of purchase.

There's no word yet on cost or availability for the Ö ring, but Bates has been gathering manufacturing quotes, which he describes as "attractive." The Arduboy Arduino-powered interactive card will be available soon for $50, so the Ö ring is likely to be in line with that sort of affordable-price philosophy. "In the new year we are going to be working full time on managing the production of the first batch!" writes Bates. It's not exactly a crowded market full of smart-ring competitors, so the Ö ring may have at least a shot at ruling them all.