A smart ring to replace your wallet, house key

The ring with an integrated RFID chip can open a smart door.

The ring with an integrated RFID chip can open a smart door.

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Rings are the latest in the line of smart wearables that incorporate numerous features into one device to collect, store and analyse data. Soon, they could do more. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology (IGCV) have developed a multi-functional smart ring that could substitute a wallet, a house key, or a health insurance card.

Concealed inside the ring is an RFID chip that can enable people to pay at the supermarket checkout counter, open a smart door, act as a health insurance card, or replace a key card at the hotel, researchers noted. It may also be possible to save medical data on this chip, such as a wearer’s blood group or drug intolerance to help in an emergency.

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The ring is produced by a 3D printing process and is integrated with an RFID chip. It is built layer-by-layer, with a cavity left for the electronics. The process is halted midway to allow a robotic system to auto pick and place the chip in the cavity, seal the ring, and make it tamper-proof.

“Converting the hardware technology to allow electronic components to be integrated during the manufacturing process is unique,” Maximilian Binder, senior researcher at Fraunhofer IGCV, said in a statement.

Further, to ensure electromagnetic signals from the chip travel through metal, the researchers used a frequency of 125 kilohertz. “This has a shorter range, which is exactly what we want here, and is less effectively shielded by the metal,” Binder explained.

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The team also affixed the chip in such a way that its signals have to penetrate just one millimetre of metal. The design of the cavity and the way the electronics are embedded into it are also instrumental in transmitting the signal since the walls can reflect or absorb the signals, the researchers noted.

The technology of integrating electronics during 3D printing can be used wherever the conventional method of incorporating the electronics proves difficult, they added.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 10:50:43 pm |