ORII smart ring controls smartphones using speech

ORII smart ring enables smartphones to call, text, and command intelligent voice assistants.

ORII smart ring
ORII smart ring enables smartphone users to call, text, and command voice assistants. Origami Labs

In an effort to revolutionise smartphone usage, Hong Kong-based technology start-up Origami Labs has introduced ORII smart ring which enables users to perform tasks on their smartphones, such as calling and texting, without holding the device or having it in close proximity.

ORII is a smart ring that uses speech to navigate smartphones at a distance. A first of its kind, developers used a ground breaking bone conduction technology to convey sound by pointing the ring-bearing finger to the ear. Users can also make calls and send messages in addition to instructing intelligent voice assistants. As of now, this smart ring supports Siri and Google Assistant on devices with at least Android 4.4 and iOS 9.

In a statement to IBTimes SG Friday, Origami Labs chief executive Kevin Johan Wong said ORII is engineered to streamline smartphone use by keeping a distance from distractive screens and make lives more productive in return.

"Designed to become an integral part of your life, ORII paves the way for a more screen-free lifestyle while giving you instant on-the-go connection to your smart devices," says Wong.

A product of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology buddies, the technology is envisioned to change how people use their smartphone without having to see its screen. Origami Labs' bone conduction technology promises to render a fine audio quality and noise canceling microphones guaranteed with secure privacy.

"Integrating the same technology used in hearing aids, ORII uses bone conduction to send sound discreetly to your ear, creating a device which allows freedom from screen-based interaction," explains Wong.

Wong shared the deep-rooted inspiration of ORII is having a father who has been visually impaired since his teen. Wong senior developed speech and text-based technologies, with eight patents under his belt, to help others with a similar difference as him.

ORII started as a project on Kickstarter with a crowdfunding goal to secure US$30,000. Since its launch on 18 July, ORII has already received a total of US$78,927 in pledge from 574 backers as of the press time. Current ORII price starts at US$99 for the super early bird; buying it in stores soon sets back US$59 more.

This article was first published on July 22, 2017