Besides talking into a shoe, the most spy-like way to take a phone call is to just stick your finger in your ear. Last year the Sgnl made that possible using a watchband, and now we've seen the idea packed into a smaller wearable device: a ring. Orii allows you to field calls by touching your ear, thanks to bone conduction technology that sends vibrations through your hand to directly stimulate the little ear bones responsible for hearing.
Bone conduction has cropped up in headphones and bike helmets over the years, allowing wearers to listen to music or take calls while still keeping an ear on their surroundings. Orii crams that technology into the smallest package we've seen yet – although it's still pretty clunky, as far as rings go.
In a general sense, Orii functions like a smartwatch. It pairs to your phone via Bluetooth, and can then be used to check notifications and take calls without taking your phone out of your pocket. When a call is coming through, the ring will vibrate and flash an LED, and answering it is a matter of just placing your finger to your ear.
According to the team, bone conduction brings very clear sound quality to the caller, and a pair of noise-canceling microphones embedded in the ring are designed to make sure the person on the other end can hear you just as clearly. These microphones can also be used to send voice commands through either Siri or the Google Assistant, to do all the usual functions sans-phone.
Along with calls, specific notifications can be filtered through Orii. With the app, users can decide which alerts they receive through the ring, and set a specific color of LED to each app or contact, so you can tell at a glance what kind of notification is coming through.
Orii is quite a chunky piece of jewelry, but being attention-grabbing is probably part of the appeal – especially if you're taking calls in public by putting a finger in your ear. The splash-proof shell comes in three colors, Sandblasted Silver, Metallic Dark Gray and Matte Black.
Orii is currently being funded on Kickstarter, and it's surpassed its US$30,000 target with 29 days left to go on the campaign. Super Early Bird pledges start at $99 for the ring, and if all goes to plan, they'll be in backers' hands by February 2018.
Check it out in action in the campaign video below.