WATCH | Introducing: The ‘smart ring’ for the visually impaired

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A ‘smart’ ring developed in Hong Kong aims to help the visually impaired by allowing them to answer phone calls with a touch of a finger. Reuters’ Amy Pollock has more.

Answering a phone call could become as simple as touching your ear.

Wear new smart ring Orii on your finger and connect to your phone using bluetooth… And pick up calls using bone conduction technology that sends sound vibrations through your hand straight into your ear. It’s a way of ditching the screen and paying attention to world around us, say its developers.

“We’re very well connected, very digital-savvy. We also know that in some way we want to shift our habits towards something else. We want to keep our heads up, we want to be able to stay more in the moment. I think this device represents a different way of using our devices,” Origami Labs co-founder Kevin Wong, saying.

Hong Kong-based start up Origami developed the Orii as a way of improving smartphone functionality for visually impaired users. They typically rely on screen reading software, but that has its problems.

“It’s loud and other people can hear it. Can you imagine it reading out your password? That’s inconvenient and inappropriate,” Origami Labs Technical Advisor, Peter Wong, saying.

Origami found its discreet device had wider appeal.

“So one thing that we discovered was that making screen-free tech was more than just about accessibility, But really about making something easier to use for all of us,” Kevin Wong, saying.

The Orii gives around one hour of continuous listening time, according to its developers. And it links up with voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant to complete calls, text messages and setting reminders.