About this project
Mashable VIDEO: "potentially see this tech rolled out worldwide"
TIME tech: "Mass Transit Powers… Activate!"
The Boston Globe: "possibilities for corporate security, for example, or access control at dorm entrances"
Gizmodo: "all you need to get around Boston"
Boston Magazine: "make it easier—and more fashionable—for passengers using the MBTA to get into stations and onto buses"
Boston.com: "sail through the crowds, no excavations necessary"
Metro.us: "a fist bump of the fare gate"
Universal Hub: "Beware my power, T rider's might!"
The Transit Wire: "the ultimate accessory for transit fashionistas"
BostInno: "Forget Charlie Cards: Pay Your MBTA Fare With the Flash of a 3D-Printed Ring"
WBZ News Radio 1030: "Space age is good"
CBS Channel 7 News: "The story has a nice ring to it"
Crunchwear: "a wearable technology double shot!"
CBS-WBZ TV: "the future in riding the T"
The Atlantic Cities: "Brilliant Gadget of the Day"
CBC News: "has great potential"
Dvice.com: "capable of delivering a knockout blow to your subway turnstile woes"
Sky News: "could spell the demise of the bus or train pass"
Earth Techling: "aptly-named ring will ensure you never miss you ride again"
msnNOW: "a snazzy, smart ring"
Bit Rebels: "A Dream Come True"
International Digital Times: "could have many applications"
The Tech Billy: "pay public transport fares with ease"
The Tech Journal: "looks really cool"
PSFK: "one piece of wearable tech could replace an entire wallet"
TechHive: "take public transit passes to the next level"
A big THANK YOU goes out to the people who have written the wonderful articles above :)
We are two undergraduates studying engineering and design.
Having missed the train many times while fishing for our Charlie Cards (smart cards used for public transportation in Massachusetts), we looked for a solution in wearable technology. After months of hard work, we created the 3D-printed Sesame Ring, supported by the MBTA.
Now, you can walk right up to the gantry, use scientifically approved magic, and scoot on through!
Kickstarter, we're so excited about our product, but we want to know what you think.
The journey is just beginning. Your interest and support will fuel our passion and lead our project on to heights we can only dream of. We want to keep improving our ring - make it sleeker, metallic, and multi-functional. Imagine, Sesame Rings opening doors, replacing smart cards, and more!
Ultimately, we want to bring our rings to the rest of the world. Help us make this dream come true!
Love the idea of rings for your city, business, or conference? Shoot us an email at email@example.com. We'll love to meet with you and discuss this possibility.
How should I choose my Sesame Ring?
1.Choose the ring body colour: Black, White, Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow (or Green! Check out Update #1)
2.Choose the ring face colour: Gold or Silver
3.Measure your ring size
4.Choose your customised 4-letters (Optional)
5.Submit your own design (Optional)
Instructions for use
The ring is so much smaller than a card. To optimise each reading, tap right in the center of the card target (the area in the green circle).
Is it waterproof?
Yes, watch this!
Timeline of our journey
Jan 2013: After conceiving the idea and building a rough prototype as a weekend hack, we proceeded to mould it into a functional mash up. The first prototypes were big and chunky, and had wires sticking out all over them. Then, we spent a good month during our school's Independent Activity Period to reduce the size of the RFID tag within the ring, thus producing a much sleeker and clean product. A lot of time was also spent on understanding RFID frequency, protocols, and standards. After a great number of trial and error, we achieved a good deal of sensitivity with the Sesame Ring, allowing for ease of communication with RFID readers. The method we developed to achieve this sensitivity is novel and we have since filed for a patent.
Feb 2013: With a functional prototype, we spent another month refining the ring to carry decent elements of design, functionality and user-friendliness. Numerous hours were spent CAD-ing a 3D-printable design that positions the RFID tag in the ring such that it sits comfortably on the finger, allowing for ergonomic use. The punch/tap method was a natural and fun way to let the ring communicate with RF readers. Because the ring is very small and has many fine details, we carried out investigations into 3D-printer resolution to achieve a desired finish on the Sesame Ring. Many iterations went into this phase of the project, including the testing of several different kinds of 3D printers and other rapid prototyping processes. We decided to use ABS plastic 3D printing material for its robustness and wearability.
Apr 2013: Our first beta testers for the rings was a newly formed university in Singapore, established in collaboration with MIT. The university ordered 300+ rings as an inauguration present for incoming freshmen. Marked with the university logo, the rings were used to access laboratories, lecture halls, classrooms, and other campus & hostel facilities. Through this beta run, we acquired user feedback and were able to improve the ring by making it sleeker, lighter and waterproof. We also introduced 4 new colors for the ring - cherry red, lemon yellow, tangerine orange, and blueberry blue. The students have proven the reliability of the ring, and the university has since expressed interest in having the ring as a lasting tradition.
June 2013: Given the success of the first beta run, our team was able to produce rings that can quickly and easily adopt the function of practically any smart card. We chose the MBTA Charlie Card as it was one that we use very often here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and we thought that public transportation would be an interesting sector to investigate. MBTA officials have expressed their support of the project, and provided us with the materials and technology necessary to launch this Kickstarter. A one-size-fits-all ring was also experimented with, but it proved to have lines of weaknesses which deemed it unsuitable for use. Industry experts lent us advice on mass production techniques such as injection moulding and die-casting, which we may use to produce high quality rings in the future, if demand proves to be high enough.
July 2013: A definitive assembly process, together with a Bill of Materials, was developed to meet the manufacturer's standards. It gave us a clear plan on the manufacturing process, and allowed for quotes to be be provided to us. 11 rings were distributed to wearable technologists in Boston, so as to gain more feedback on the usability of the Sesame Ring. We also worked with designers to brainstorm various designs for the Sesame Ring. In the end, we settled on our own specially designed font that not only allows the customisation of the ring, but also allows for optimal RF permeability.
What happens after I back the project?
So, you are one of our awesome backers! We want to thank you and personally get your preferences for your new Sesame Ring. Each beloved backer will be receiving an email with details on how to proceed. Shiny new rings for everyone!
- Backers who did not order a ring will receive a code to access a private poll where they can vote for places they want the rings at. We will go into discussions about the possibility of bringing the ring to these places after fulfilling all pledges.
- Backers who are waiting to receive their rings, will receive a guide on how to measure your ring size. It is important to us that the ring fits comfortably and snuggly on your finger. As a quick guide, this is the Sizing Chart we will be using:
Ring size Diameter(inch) Sesame Ring size
<4 <0.59 Custom (no extra cost)
4-5.5 <0.63 XS
5.75-6.75 <0.67 S
7-8 <0.71 M
8.2-9.2 <0.75 L
9.5-10.5 <0.79 XL
10.75-11.75 <0.83 XXL
>11.75 >0.83 Custom (no extra cost)
- Backers who order customised designs send us your choice of 4 letter initials to have on the face of the ring. Upon receipt, we will send an email with the 2D face design for visualisation and confirmation before proceeding with fabrication. Offensive language is not supported and will be rejected.
- Backers who want your own design on the ring face will have to send us your creative designs following these guidelines:
1. The design should be a square measuring 0.6 x 0.6 inches (15 x 15 mm). You may use the template we have below. We encourage you to think outside the box, but please keep your awesome design within the red box :)
2. It should be submitted in black and white, with black indicating the cut-out areas (which will reveal a metallic surface)
3. Black or white spaces cannot be thinner than 0.03 inch (0.75mm) between any two edges
4. Closed black loops negate any design inside it
5. Offensive designs are not supported and will be rejected
We will follow up with each of you to refine the design so as to obtain a good finish on all custom rings.
Sept-Nov 2013: We will print your rings on printers that give it the best finish. If the project gets an overwhelming response, we will consider injection moulding. This will give the Sesame Ring a sexier matt finish and hardiness. For now, that remains our stretch goal!
Most of the work developing the product has already been done. After rolling out the campaign, we only need to confirm orders and get started on manufacturing. Our focus is to give users a speedy manufacturing time, so that you can get your products by the promised delivery date (Christmas!)
Risks and challenges
It takes a substantial amount of time to 3D print in large quantities, with costs going up proportionately for every additional ring and color that we commit to printing. We are currently working with only 1 printer, and will have to invest heavily in another one in order to cut down production time. We aim to deliver all rings in time for Christmas!
We are also looking into injection molding and die-casting -- however, this is only sensible at very high production numbers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. We intend to ship the rings with the ID details as per the Charlie Card, so you can register them with the web service for auto updates. You can also activate it on the add value machine. For existing users, you might need to redirect the monthly pass to the ring rather than to the Card, just like you would if you lost your current Charlie Card and got a new one.
No. Shipping isn't free, but we have already included it in the rewards when you back us so you don't have to pay additional shipping charges. If you think this makes it an even better deal, help us share it with people you care about.
I love this idea but I'm not a big fan of rings, is it possible to get it in another form eg. keychains?
The good thing about the ring is that you can use it as a key chain too, as some of our beta users have!
We see the benefit of having other designs, and we'd love to include more form factors. We're in the midst of scoping out demand for this, and we'll post updates for any new changes.
On a side note, we had experimented with several forms such as bracelets, phone cases and key fobs. We settled on the ring because of various reasons including the fact that it was the most fun to fist bump the card target!
The Sesame Ring is possibly a start to a fresh new perspective on RFID wearable technology for common activities in our lives. And we are glad you are part of this :)
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