Feeds

Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc

Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Pic An NFC Ring does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a piece of jewellery with two NFC tags embedded in it that pass information to nearby phones, tablets and other gadgets by radio.

Given that NFC has been a bit of a flop, this may seem a little pointless. Even the technology flag-wavers have stopped claiming that “next year will be the year of NFC”.

But as a ring it starts to make a little sense. For a start, it turns the model around. Rather than expecting you to use your phone to pay by bonk, it uses the ring to control the phone.

Most importantly, it can replace the lock code or swipe pattern with just holding the phone while wearing the tech trinket. Tap the ring against the phone and you're in: the code to unlock the device is sent wirelessly from the ring. It’s a much more human thing to do.

Opens phones like magic

Ring job ... the NFC jewellery

The NFC Ring is the brainchild of Bradford-based John McLear, who is also behind the open-source online document editing tool Etherpad. McLear explained that he’s not “a jewellery kind of guy” and that he appreciates that at some time he’s going to get married and that will necessitate wearing a ring. And if he has to wear a ring, it will have to do something other than advertise his marital status.

Thus was the NFC Ring born, here in the UK. Initially mooted as a 3D-printed thing, the first prototypes turned out to be plastic and horrible; McLear said it did nasty things to his skin.

An NFC ring can, in theory replace a contact-less payment card, but these things are never quite that straightforward. McLear wants to support payments, but that will need expertise in global payment-card standard Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV), and is therefore a work in progress.

It can’t be used as an Oyster card as that’s proprietary MiFare technology, although the London Underground is also moving to EMV which is why Tube-dwelling Londoners are regaled with constant warnings to keep their payment cards and Oyster cards separate. It would be a race against time to try and support MiFare as by the time NFC Ring got the rings out the technology used, even by the slow-moving Transport for London, will have moved on. You can already use EMV cards on the capital's buses.

Other applications include NFC door locks. There are a few around, principally targeted at the hotel market, but Yale has shown off a domestic version. With two chips in the ring, one can be used for public functions, such as handing over a Bitcoin wallet address, while the other can be private. The two chips are denoted by white and black areas on the ring. McLear is applying the Etherpad open-source ethos to NFC Ring, opening up the tech for third-party developers.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.