Connected rings feel like one of the biggest pipe dreams in wearable technology. We have seen numerous companies promise (and mostly fail) to deliver incredible devices, loaded with everything from a bevy of sensors to a color screen. The problem is the shape is very difficult to work with and there is practically no space since a ring can only be so thick. To date the only company to sort of figure it out is Ringly. Ringly’s solution was to house all of the electronics where the stone is mounted. Using this approach they were able to build a not-too-bulky connected ring capable of notifications and basic activity tracking. The Ringly is impressive for what the company accomplished with such a small size. The problem is that by tucking the electronics under a mounted semiprecious stone the ring is not cheap ($195 to $265) and is only designed for women. Announced at CES, Motiv is a new connected ring hoping to appeal to the masses.
Motiv is looking to bring the connected ring to the next level. The sleek titanium ring is a no compromise fitness tracker. It is only 2.5mm thick yet manages to pack 5 days worth of battery and even a heart rate sensor into the tiny ring! Designed for both men and women, the $199 ring is available in Slate Grey and Rose Gold. Even though almost every connected device these days features notification, Motiv is solely designed to keep you moving. Instead of using hard to visualize goals such as number of steps or calories burnt, Motiv focuses on active minutes: the number of minutes during the day are you physically engaged. The heart rate sensor and accelerometer automatically recognize the increase in excursion and Motiv counts those minutes towards your daily activity goal. Additionally, the ring automatically senses the activity type and tracks your sleep. While you are sleeping, the connected ring collects data about your resting heart rate which it uses to help recognize your active minutes.
There have been so few ring style wearable devices that have actually made it to market, we are extremely skeptical when we see a new device announced. With the notable exception of Ringly, they either fail to ever make it past pre-production or they end up being so bulky the ring is basically unwearable. A ring is a tiny space to work with; when you consider the amount of electronics, sensors, and batteries that need to be crammed inside, it is easy to see the challenge. Motiv, announced at this year’s CES, is slated to ship this Spring. It is not on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but has an actual website doing direct pre-sales. The company claims it is prepared for mass production, even utilizing a custom designed curved battery. While we are always a bit cautious with new devices from unproved companies, Motiv seems like it might actually be able to overcome the hurdles the companies before it have not. Perhaps the key is singularly focusing on doing one thing well. It will be interesting to see what comes of this low profile fitness tracker over the next few months.