Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 19, 2013.

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The NFC Ring can be used to unlock doors, mobile phones and to transfer information and link people.

We will be asking for your ring size in the survey once Kickstarter has finished.

The NFC Ring can be used to unlock doors, mobile phones, transfer information and link people. Best of all the NFC Ring glides right onto your finger - no updates, no charging, and no fuss.

Single Ring Close up
Single Ring Close up

Reviews

Thank you very much, we appreciate all your support including reviews and sharing on social networks, without you we can't get this project to the place we all want it to be.

Melissa Fassbender and Eric Sorensendid a hilarious video that is well worth watching.

the-gadgeteer.com:  We sent Julie one of our first prototypes of the NFC Ring and here's what she had to say about the NFC Ring.

nfcbrief.com:  Here's what NFC Brief Had to say about the McLear NFC Ring, includes some great video reviews and exclusive pictures.

Russell Holly from Geek.com did a hands on report of the Alpha NFC Ring that includes a video.  Really worth a read and watch!

fastcompany.com:  Here's what FastCompany had to say about the NFC Ring

gizmag.com: Will Shanklin did a great write up for GizMag

techcrunch.com: Natasha Lomas did a great write up for Techcrunch hopefully giving Apple a little nudge and really does a great job of explaining the available options.

Dieter Jirmann wrote a piece in German/Deutsch about the NFC Ring

gizmodo: Adam Clark Estes covered the NFC Ring in Gizmodo

Washington Post: Emi Kolawole did a write up for the Washington Post

RackSpace: Rackspace are offering 100$ for anyone who can hack the NFC Ring at DEFCON and we did a blog post with some suggested exploits

Radu Tyrsina did a good write up on Technology Personalized

Ryan Whitwam Android Police did a very visually appealing write up that explains the convenience of the NFC Ring

Karl Dyer did a great review on the NFC Ring for NFC World.  We're huge fans of NFC World and use it as our go to source for NFC industry news.

Mark Roberti at RFID journal did a nice write up that includes a quote from John about how he hopes the ring starts a revolution

Nice video thoughts by Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson on the Security Now podcast.  Plenty of "ooooh" going on!  Thanks to Josh for the head nod about this.

Chris Burns of SlashGear did a nice write up about the NFC Ring

Megan Wollerton of DVice appreciated John's phone unlocking skills in their coverage.

Enter.co did a nice article for our Spanish speaking friends.

Meredith Popolo did a nice write up for PC Mag that includes a poll to vote if you would have an NFC Ring

Unlock your smart phone or tablet

When you take your phone out of your pocket, just slide your hand under and the NFC Ring will unlock it. It couldn't be more simple!  A third party application is required for this, various exist so you can pick your own from the Google play store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.mclear.nfcring&hl=en

app instructing to hold ring to back of phone
app instructing to hold ring to back of phone

Privacy is paramount

The NFC Ring comes with two inlays, public and private so you can keep personal information as private as you want.

Want to be able to use your ring to open your house? 

No problem. Just grab yourself an NFC enabled door lock, install it and you will be ready to go!

Share & transfer information

You can use your NFC Ring to share WiFi information, links to websites, contact information or whatever you think is suitable to be passed securely to your friends, smartphones and tablets. Your NFC Ring can also be used to start apps with custom settings (parameters), making it a really easy way to personalize the app experience to match your ring.

Your idea here

Unleash your own ideas for how to use the NFC Ring.

No charging required

The NFC Ring never needs charging, ever.

The NFC Ring's components

Ring Components and Structural Make up
Ring Components and Structural Make up

An older ring without an inlay cover

Removed inlay cover shows NFC inlay
Removed inlay cover shows NFC inlay

Our journey so far

We have been working on developing the NFC ring for over a year, our product was invented by John McLear to automatically unlock his mobile phone and to make jewellery practical. Ultimately, John knew at some point in his life he was going to have to wear a ring, and he wanted the ring to be practical, but personal. We started prototyping on a 3D printer using Tinkercad to create renders.

Some of the prototypes developed over the development period
Some of the prototypes developed over the development period

Metal and RFID was the biggest problem we faced when developing the ring. Naturally metal absorbs the RFID signal from the antenna which means that induction fails and so does the ability to communicate with the ring. After several months of research and development John realised how to solve this problem by using an intermediate layer between the Ring and the inlay. The next problem was to source a thin enough intermediate layer.

Following a number of trips to China later we had sourced a 13mm intermediate layer and put together our first prototype. Five prototype rings were ordered and distributed to fellow tech enthusiasts, and that was when we discovered issues with the style, fitting and security. A few months later the style issue was addressed by allowing the NFC Ring owners to customize their own style and also by providing a set choice of colours. 

A few months after that the problem of security was resolved by adding an additional inlay opposite the original inlay. This solves the security issue by creating an interference area stopping any powerful antennas being able to complete a full induction process and by using different hand gestures for different actions (closed fist for public, open hand for private).

Comfortable fitting took a long time and a lot of money to solve. The issue with the inlays was that the thinnest inlay on the market at the time of initial development was 12mm. This meant the ring was 13mm wide. This was incredibly uncomfortable as the ring is designed to be worn permanently such as a wedding band. Five very expensive prototypes later we had developed our own 6mm NFC Inlay, we decided on the NTAG203 chip because it was actually an NFC chip unlike some of the cheaper alternatives being used in the market. 

So now we stand, ring in hand, production lined up, what we need now is a community of backers to start using the ring and spread the word!

Software

All of our software is open source, developed in Apache Cordova.  As a side project we also contributed to various Cordova modules hopefully making future Cordova projects easier to implement.  John wrote about his development experience should you be interested.  All of our repos are publicly visible on Github and we're really keen to get early adopters as involved as possible to get things moving!

The future

Creating an open source platform will enable third parties to adopt the NFC Ring and consider making their devices NFC ready. Our end goal is to produce a ring that will make your day to day life better. We envisage being able to use your ring as a pedometer and to monitor your heart rate, we have big plans for the future and we would like you to be part of our journey.

3D print your own

We believe in sharing as much information as possible so we also publish useful links to documentation and other reference points on our Github organization site. This includes 3D models so you can customise and 3D print your own ring at home!

What we're raising funds for

Mass producing the NFC inlays at such a small size and that can be read whilst surrounded by metal is expensive. Our MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) is 10,000 units. Because we have been working on this secretly for 12 months our prototyping is complete. We know what does and doesn't work so now we just need funds for the mass production run.

How we're making the ring and getting it to you

Naturally when developing any new product the largest time is taken up in R&D and connecting suppliers/manufacturers and other stakeholders. So we approached the development of this company as we would approach the development of a web app.  This meant we introduced high availability and scalability right from the start. It feels good to know that should one supplier be unable to grow as our demand increases, we have a second that can easily help facilitate our needs.  

So what is the process?

Once our kickstarter is successful you will receive an email.  This email will include a link to a page where you will be asked to take a photo of your hand holding a magnetic strip, like on a credit card. Don't worry, we don't keep these images or use them for payment.  We do this so we can measure the size of the finger you want your ring to be on.  If you don't have a webcam you can always use another means to find your ring finger size and enter it manually.

You will also be asked any product-specific questions such as what colour inlays you would like and if you have chosen a custom inlay design we will ask you to email your design through.  Details will be provided based on the size of your ring.

During the delay between Kickstarter finalizing, assuming we hit our target, we will place the order with our RFID supplier and we will run our first MOQ inlay run of 100k Units.  The lead time on these is a few weeks so during that period we will begin manufacturing inlay covers, rings and RFID reflective material.  We have a  30 day credit account with this supplier so we can place the order early on to avoid delays on funding clearance.

Three weeks after Kickstarter finalises, we should have the inlays, inlay covers and reflective material ready to start manufacturing the first run of rings.  Our minimum run will be 1000 units and will take roughly two weeks to complete.  All of our factories and production is in China, they have already done practise shipping runs between each other to ensure they can handle the distribution requirements of our project.

Our Kickstarter funds should clear 4 weeks after the campaign finishes, at this point depending on how much we clear we will either manage completion from China or from the UK. 

We are working with a ring factory that has a proven track record at delivering Kickstarter projects, this factory is responsible for taking orders, manufacturing the ring shape, cutting the covers and reflective material to size, inserting the components into the ring and sealing with the coating. The factory will also be responsible for any custom printing and engraving requested. 

We're using a distribution provider CritSuccess, in the US to serve the Americans. CritSuccess has a track record at delivering on Kickstarter projects similar to this one. We are handling Europe distribution from the UK and Asia distribution from China.

Depending on scale we expect it will take up to 4 weeks for the rings to ship from China to the US.  We have spoken to our importers who have assured us there are no issue importing this technology.

So assuming four weeks for production, four weeks for shipping and then a further one week for handling you should have your ring in late October, ready in time to wrap it up and get it ready for a stocking :)

Known Limitations

The normal NFC Ring does not work with The BlackBerry Z10 this phone you will need an alpha size ring.  This is due to the way that the S4 and Z10 NFC chip-set and where RIM/Samsung place their antenna in their battery making it impossible for those phones to read small NFC Inlays consistently.

UPDATE: SAMSUNG ISSUE SOLVED!  I'd still recommend having an Alpha and a Normal as it isn't great.  BlackBerry is unsolvable, yay RIM.....

UPDATE PT II: We're working with Broadcom to try to come to a final resolution on this, it's a complex problem due to the number of factors that can affect performance.

Each phone has a sweet spot where the NFC Ring will work, find it and place your sweet spot sticker here.

The Nexus 7 Tablet has a known bug with initializing the camera for scanning QR Codes, when you try to use a QR code it will crash the app.  You can still create actions locally though.

The Alpha Male Ring is really only for chaps with big fingers, because of it's large size normal size hands will look dwarven or hobbit like, further side affects include taking the longest possible route everywhere and having deranged company on your travels.

We ship all NFC Inlays unlocked, so it may be that at some point we decide to send an update to your app that sets them to locked open, this is to stop someone writing a malicious NDEF record to your ring and locking it in that state.

Hat Tip

Various people have helped us along the way especially:

Amal at dangerousthings.com specializes in NFC and RFID implants.  We worked together to develop the NFC Technology and sourcing various partners and components.  He has a range of Implants and while we don't prefer implants you might so check his site out.  What that man has done to his body in the name of this project is beyond all of our efforts.

The Apache Cordova Team.  The Cordova team amazing at supporting us in implementing various plugins and bug-fixing issues and also their work on Cordova 3 has been fantastic.

Don C at Chariot Solutions - Don Wrote an amazing cordova/phonegap NFC plugin.  He's also a good guy, good guy Don is good guy.

Our Investors, who you know, funded everything.  John and Matt, John also built the project from nothing.

Our Press release author, Gareth Halfacree who turned our technical brain farts into something coherent.

Our heroes at First10 especially Chris L and Rich who have both been with this project for months and have spent endless hours doing our 3D renders, product pictures, marketing video, banner adverts..  Just everything really..  Amazing effort.

And last but not least, you.  By supporting this project you are making your own future be just a little bit more cool.

Stretch Goals

We are very excited to share our stretch goals!

£30,000 - Multiple rings/inlay <-- ACHIEVED!

£32000 - Sweet Spot Sticker with every ring <-- ACHIEVED!

£35,000 - Choice of Steel or Titanium Ring for all models. <-- ACHIEVED!

£40,000 - We provide An Android NFC Phone Unlock App, saving you 3$ on the Play Store! <-- ACHIEVED!

£50,000 - Investigate Windows Phone App <-- ACHIEVED!

£60,000 - Provide 1/2 size rings IE 7.5, 8.5, 9.5.... <-- ACHIEVED!

£70,000 - Contribute source code & Lobby Android community for NFC unlock in core <-- ACHIEVED!

£80,000 - Create option of stealth bomber black ring (all black)  <-- ACHIEVED!

£100,000 - 5 color inlay options (white, black, black carbon fiber, silver, wood). <- ACHIEVED!

£110,000 - Windows Phone App <- ACHIEVED!

£125,000 - Nickel free Titanium Ring Option <- ACHIEVED!

£150,000 - Different color options for the ring metal (IE Black/Blue) <-- ACHIEVED!

£200,000 - Ten color inlay options, chose from 10 different color sets.

£225,000 - Transparent Inlay cover option, see the electronics inside the ring!

£250,000 - The Collection: £50 gets you 3 Rings ( Alpha, Normal, Stealth Bomber), 3x Inlays (one of each size), a chain and a box.

£275,000 - All Kickstarter Limited Edition Ring backers receive a free Alpha Ring.

£300,000 - ALL BACKERS RECEIVE 50% REDUCTION ON THEIR FIRST ORDER AT STORE.NFCRING.COM

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Our factory has experience in delivering rings across the US, UK and China however we face some obstacles delivering to other countries. We have two distribution centres and are working with previous successful kickstarter projects to help us resolve this.

The NFC tags we use have limited space, this is a limitation imposed by the industry. We have designed a custom NFC inlay for this ring and as tags get larger and inlays smaller we are attempting to find a happy compromise between size/storage.

Some mobile phones have very poorly placed NFC antennas. This can lead to weak signal which stops NFC functioning fully with the Ring. We aim to contribute to a blacklist of mobile phones that we know don't support NFC functionality well.

FAQ

  • The ring solves multiple problems but the initial core problem was that of security and access control. The ring is an ideal replacement for house keys. John McLear is the inventor of the NFC Ring, development took over a year as he wanted a ring with was stealthy enough to go unnoticed by his friends and colleagues. He also wanted the ring to be metal, plastic rings are really uncomfy and have a tacky feel. The NFC Ring can be worn in all conditions (see ntag203 spec sheet), all year round.

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  • As many as you want but we recommend having a gap between each finger so that the rings don't scratch against each other and to avoid Radio Crosstalk.

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  • There will be an Android and Windows Phone 7 App.

    The Ring works with Windows Phone 8 and Blackeberry devices but we don't have an app yet however you can use the system built in apps to configure actions on your ring.

    Details on the status of the Windows Phone 8 can be seen at https://github.com/phonegap/build/issues/118 -- TLDR we're waiting on Adobe and Microsoft.

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  • We provide a size 9.5 STL file for 3D printing your own NFC Ring, we will ship you some of our inlays. We're doing this to show our love for the hacker community and to get as many people with access to prototyping and developing as quickly and as affordable as possible.

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  • We will set Kickstarter targets where people can vote to get their OS supported. The app is developed with Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) so supporting additional devices should be relatively trivial.

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  • Raspberry Pi and Arduino both have NFC modules available that work great with the ring.

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  • You can use third party software to achieve this however third party software is somewhat limited. We will be setting Kickstarter targets for achieving this natively in Android.

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  • A ring should be both personal and community focused, because sharing is a big part of the core functionality we needed a way to easily support third party platforms, open source allows this.

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  • For privacy. One inlay is private, one inlay is public. Different hand gestures mean different information is shared. The initial ring prototypes had one inlay and this meant everytime you shared some public information such as a twitter link you are sharing some private information such as a code for a digital door lock.

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  • 1mm. This is a feature not a bug. You can't have any security if the inlays can be read from a distance. We basically say that this is "touch" technology. Another note on this is that even if you have a really powerful antenna and try to read the inlay from a distance the inlays are programmed to generate cross talk which means it's impossible to know which inlay is delivering which bit.

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  • 50 wood inlays, 1 completely clear, 100 or so prototypes (mostly 3D printed).

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  • Unlocking doors, unlocking mobile phones, sharing URLS, sharing information. John uses his for his digital door locks, to share contact information and as a replacement for his car ignition button.

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  • Any NFC door lock will work however be mindful of cheap imitation door locks that don't have genuine NFC support. We recommend the Samsung SHS-2421 as a good sub 100$ digital door lock that is easy to fit.

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  • Ranging from 20$ to 600$.

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  • Ring sizes 7 to 15.

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  • 144 bytes, 1152 bits of awesomeness. 4,369,066 rings would be needed to fill a CD of 600MB.

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  • Yes, we use the NTAG203 chip.

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  • Minimum order quantity of 100000 units.

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  • Roughly 7mm.

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  • Not yet and this isn't on our roadmap, payments require a lot of encryption and security.

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  • Your physical security is the security, there is no encryption however encrypted data can be written to the ring. It is very similar to a door key but with the option to be more secure should you choose.

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  • After Kickstarter we will be taking orders of bulk purchases of the ring.

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  • John McLear, the founder of Primary Technology and the Etherpad Foundation and Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Wordpress (Automattic) and various other projects.

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  • If we could kindly ask you to wait until after the Kickstarter campaign to release any photos or videos, as your ring is a prototype and not the final product we don't want to confuse prospective buyers :)

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  • The ring is water resistant, we're not sure it's water proof, we're checking with the factory to what they think they tolerances are.

    Several people have been wearing the rings 24x7 for many months in many environments and haven't noticed any faults or issues arising.

    As soon as we know exact operating limits we will post them :)

    Update: The factory claims the ring is waterproof, we need to test up to what depths though but if you are just going to wear this ring in normal pressure environments you will be fine. If you going to go deep sea diving with it on you may run into problems.

    If anyone has a waterproof testing machine we'd love to use it :)

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  • I have tested the alpha ring with the RFID-522-ANT arduino shield and that works however the normal smaller size ring does not register on that specific Arduino shield however it might on other shields.

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  • Yep and props to Jordan Rinke for suggesting this.

    We can do this on both the Alpha and normal size rings.

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  • Yes. Most digital door locks use the UUID of the Inlay, the NFC Ring Unlock app uses some data stored on the inlay data section so you can use both.

    It's also worth noting each ring has more two inlays, so in theory you could store 2 NFC Unlock sections and 2 Door unlock sections (and / or anything else that unlocks based on UUID)

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  • No. Root is not required for our NFC Ring Unlock App to work perfectly

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  • If someone steals your ring it's similar to if someone steals your house key.

    Realizing it's been stolen:
    We challenged a pickpocket to steal our ring vs stealing our keys and whilst he was able to steal both relatively easy we noticed the ring had gone more frequently than the house keys.

    Replacing the damage:
    With a normal house key when it is stolen you have to replace the entire door lock. With an NFC Ring you just hit a reset button and use the graceful fall-back mechanism (numpad) until you get a replacement ring.

    Same logic applies to a phone.

    There is no remote deactivation on our door locks however Lockitron might provide that functionality?

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  • All of these details will be collected towards the end/after our Kickstarter project ends.

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  • For couples, so theres His & Hers (1 x NFC Ring and 1 x ALPHA MAN SIZE Ring) His & His (2 x ALPHA MAN SIZE) and Hers & Hers (2 x NFC Ring) :)

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  • No. It wont work, the Inlay will not be able to communicate with anything.

    If you want a wedding ring or band that has NFC technology built in then get remarried or beg your wife to accept you are changing your wedding band.

    We don't have another good solution for this in our roadmap.

    We are mindful many people want to use these rings as wedding bands and we will be handling custom requests for rings once the Kickstarter is complete.

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  • Unfortunately not, any of the iPhone's are not NFC enabled.

    It is rumoured that the next iPhone will have NFC, however we don't know if it's just a rumour.

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  • Simply up your pledge in price for two.

    We will collect the details when we send the survey out once the 30 days have finished.

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  • The Stainless Steel option contains traces of Nickel.

    The Titanium Option should not, we will ask you to choose which material when the campaign finishes, you should choose Titanium if you are allergic to Nickel.

    What if I try the Titanium option and I still have issues?
    It's likely this will be caused by sweat and not the metal itself however we will be very happy to refund your purchase and try to send you out a ring that is suitable for your skin condition.

    What should I do if I have a reaction to the ring?
    Your health is your #1 priority, if you have any reactions what so ever to the ring, remove the ring, if the reaction doesn't go down within 24-48 hours consult with your doctor or health service provider. If the problem persists email us so we can work with you to sort out a ring that doesn't react with your skin.

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  • No. Not initially anyway, this is due to a limitation in the Windows Phone OS.

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    ALPHA MAN SIZE RING: This ring is for big bleefy chaps that have huge grizzly bear throttling hands. The ring is 12mm wide. This Ring also works with the Galaxy S4 and the BlackBerry Z10.

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    Due to popular demand here is a His & Hers Pledge :) 2x Normal NFC Rings, with small sizes (4-5.5) as well!

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    Due to popular demand we're adding The Collection early! This includes a Normal NFC Ring, Alpha Ring and the option of a Stealth Bomber Edition Ring. You will also get 3 inlays, 1 16ml, 120ml, 1 30ml. These all come with a presentation box and a chain to keep those extra rings on!

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Funding period

- (30 days)