Silicon Valley design firm MOTA showed their answer to less intrusive notifications at IFA 2014, the MOTA SmartRing. The vibrating ring is worn with the small OLED screen facing the palm. The idea is that when the ring vibrates, the wearer looks at the palm of their hand to see scrolling information regarding the notification. To allow for the jewelry to be waterproof, the company plans to use inductive charging to refill its 36 hour battery. The device is currently available for preorder on Indiegogo for $75 with an estimated ship date of April 2015. Everything sounds great on paper, but is the company over promising.
At IFA 2014, MOTA did not have a working version of the ring. In fact, they didn’t have a version of ring that could do more than display one of four colors based on the type of notification received. Even lacking an internal battery, the prototype was bulky. We have yet to see any manufacturer be able to produce a device with a screen and battery that are even close to as thin as MOTA is promising. The company has a lot of work to do over the next 7 months to achieve their promised device. There is also the question of whether a slowly scrolling message on a ring is actually less obtrusive than a quick glance at a phone.