One ring to rule your tech nee

James Marshall
October 22, 2019

 A common question that often gets bounced about in regard to innovative technology is whether new inventions are making the user more efficient or simply a form of sophisticated laziness. For those that invest in Amazon’s recent invention, they do not even have to deal with the hassle of taking out their smartphones. This flashy gadget is called the Amazon Echo Loop and basically places an intelligent Alexa microphone in either a pair of glasses frames or on a ring. Whether the user is wearing glasses or the ring, this device syncs with their smartphone to pull up information. The user simply needs to speak into the ring or out loud so the glasses frames can hear and Alexa will find the information to speak to them. The glasses Frames read out the answer in a speaker, that has been described as a whisper, while users with the ring needs to cup their hands to their ear for the information. The ring buzzes to indicate any notification such as messages or calls.

 For example, the smart ring or glasses frames can answer anything just like Siri or Google Assistant or Home, from the weather to the time or the news as well as take certain commands such as making phone calls, schedule reminders, or play music. This is very much reminiscent of Minority Report futuristic style, yet it will likely take time to catch on. For those with portable earbuds, the visual appearance of speaking to no one definitely makes those passing do a double take thinking the user might be schizophrenic. However, the smart ring loop are in the same category as the Apple Watch or Fitbit and so the adjustment for people to start using may not be as steep. The other factor that is a plus for the smart ring is that it is waterproof, so users can wash their hands without worrying of any damage. The ring also is supposed to last a full day on a single charge of 90 minutes. And while the ring can take and make phone calls, it is not as convenient to do given the user has always to transition from speaking with the mouth to listening with the ear. There is also the challenge of listening to Alexa’s response when in a noisy environment as this in understandably not as effective as earbuds. The glasses frames similarly have been reported to sound soft spoken, yet Alexa’s voice is clear and accurate.

 The other aspect of the Amazon echo loop ring and the echo frames is aesthetic. There is only one option in terms of look and both these gadgets do appear somewhat bulky. Particularly the frames are thicker at the sides albeit with a light weight design. The smart ring is just like an actual ring in that a specific size must be selected, however, this could pose a problem if the users needs to increase or decrease the sizing in the future. For the next version, Amazon will surely have to offer a more stylized or at least diverse range of options to suit the unique needs of its customers. If a company is going to specialize in wearables, they better make the product look great and blend with different identities. Even when devices like Macbook or smartphones have a unified look, there are many design attachments to appeal to the broad market audience. The many colours, shapes, and sizes of Ipods is a good illustration of successful variety in a device. At the moment, the echo frames and echo loop ring have an image of a spy quality which, while appealing to some, may be intimidating to others. Amazon or other companies will likely have to recruit a legion of early adopters and influencers to convince the wider ‘main stream’ public that this device is fashionable and useful to their needs.

 While in its relative infancy now, these sorts of devices have major potential for many other areas that extend the users asking questions or making commands. Once the market grows, there will inevitably be a massive demand to suit the wearers daily habits and routines. This is particularly the case given the devices are wearables, so that they will be will the user throughout the day. For example, the transition to smartphones in the past couple decades has caused many companies to adopt a ‘mobile first’ approach. A sizable chunk of their business is built on how well their applications perform and adapt to mobile as virtually everyone has a smartphone and, broadly, uses it more than their laptop computers. Just with the commuting population, travelling to or from work, smartphones are essential for using this time for business purposes, social, or simply relaxing with enjoyable online games. For instance, many online casino sites that offer slot games have adopted a ‘mobile first’ approach to creating a better, and more comprehensive user experience. The gameplay of these online slots is just as simple as mobile slots, with a seamless design and control no matter the device. The player spins on a grid of 5 reels, 3 to 4 wager rows, a set of paylines, and features in both the main game and the bonus that allows many opportunities to win real money. casino slots have garnered popularity not only because of their ease of functionality across devices, but their various themes such as an Asian food stall in Yggdrasil ‘Penguin City’ to a dystopian futuristic landscape in Elk Studio’s ‘Kaiju’ to even an Irish Christmas in Pragmatic Play’s ‘Leprechaun Carol’; there is a online slot game for virtually everyone.

Once wearable technologies, like the echo loop ring, become more sophisticated it will be interesting to see how they adapt to these types of online games. And also how the developers adapt to them in vice versa. Perhaps, a specialized way of game controls will be designed or even voice commands could be activated such as saying “Jump” or “Shoot” or in the case of online slots “Spin.” There is nothing out of the realm of possibility, especially when a large percentage of current smartphone owners use their device for playing games. Therefore Amazon’s new wearable technology represents an exciting moment as it appears as a stepping stone to new innovations in gadgetry. And not only that, but gadgets that makes the biggest nerds look stylish.

 

 

 

 

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