When it comes to functional jewellery, we've already seen everything from fitness tracking earrings to bracelets that thwart attackers. Joseph Wang and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, however, have created something that's a little different yet. They've made a ring that detects chemical and biological threats in the wearer's environment.

The ring consists of two main parts. There's an electrochemical sensor cap for detecting specific compounds, beneath which is a circuit board that processes data and transmits it wirelessly to a smartphone or laptop.

Performing both voltammetric and chronoamperometric measurements, the ring is reportedly able to detect a wide range of threats. In its current prototype form, however, it's optimized to detect explosives and organophosphate nerve agents – in both vapor and liquid phases.

"We have demonstrated for the first time a fully integrated wireless ring-based multiplexed chemical sensor platform for simultaneous monitoring of several (explosive and nerve-agent) security threats," the researchers state. "The present work addressed also the growing needs for merging the strengths of fashion and wearable fields to create wearable lifestyle accessories toward a widespread acceptance of wearable sensor technology."

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal ACS Sensors.