After two years, the long-awaited Orii Smart Ring from Origami Labs is finally available for purchase.
The Orii first debuted on Kickstarter back in 2017 with a goal of $30,000. It raised 11 times that original amount, raising $333,619 from 2,082 backers. The Orii was originally intended to be a faster way to check messages and to untether people from their mobile devices, but the functionality has since evolved to include much more than that.
The Orii Smart Ring works by utilizing bone conduction technology. You might have heard of headphones that operate on the same basis. Bone conduction headphones work by directly vibrating the bones of the ear and bypassing the outer and middle ears, meaning the sound cannot be heard by anyone except the wearer. In theory, the Orii Smart Ring works on the same principle, but passes sound through the finger bone.
If you’ve ever felt like voice control was too slow or clunky, the Orii makes it so all you need is a quick gesture of your finger to turn the lights off. This is possible due to IFTTT integration with the Orii Smart Ring. There is also a built-in microphone that allows you to control other devices with a whisper.
The smart ring has added support for series of new gestures that take advantage of the built-in motion sensors to bring the ring closer together to your smartphone, headphones and smart home kit.
With the ring on your finger, a double tap on your wrist will read out messages from your phone, while a double tap pointing up launches Siri or Google Assistant voice assistants from your smartphone.
When you’ve got a pair of headphones on, a double tap pointing down can skip a music track while a double tap pointing to the left plays or pauses the music track you’re currently listening to.
Last up is the smart home integration where you’ll now be able to double tap pointing horizontally to turn smart lights on and off. It’s also working to bring those gestures closer together with the IFTTT platform to offer richer smart home controls.
Its key feature is to utilize the bone conduction tech packed into its small design to enable wearers to raise their finger to their ears to check in on messages, notifications. It’ll even let you speak into the ring to send messages using the onboard microphone.
The addition of gesture controls will no doubt keep Orii owners further away from their phones if the gestures work without issue. It seems though that it was always the plan to roll out these features so hopefully they should work smoothly.
All of this functionality is dependent on built-in motion sensors, a feature that is not yet available but is expected to release in the coming months. The original version of the Orii without motion controls, but with a built-in microphone and bone conduction technology, is now available to purchase for $199, with shipping to the US, UK and other parts of Europe already.
The creators of the Orii Smart Ring hope to reduce the amount of time people spend on their screens. Many companies have tried gesture controls in the past (like Microsoft with the Xbox Kinect), but most have fallen short of their full potential. The Orii Smart Ring has the opportunity to make gesture controls useful and accessible in a way they’ve never been before.