The HB Ring by The Touch is a novel new concept riding the wearables wave. The HB Ring promises to bring the traditional wedding band ring into the 21st century by allowing high tech romantics to bond not only through traditional wedding vows, but also via bluetooth, smartphones and the internet.
The HB Ring detects the heartbeat of the wearer, and broadcasts it complete with lights and vibrations to a paired ring work by the wearer’s partner, and visa versa. The HB Ring allows wearers to see and feel the real time heartbeat of their loved one, wherever they are, without disturbing the other side.
What is HB Ring?
The core concept behind the HB Ring is nothing new- proclaiming your undying love with matching metal rings has been a marital tradition for over six thousand years.
Papyrus scrolls found in ancient Egyptian archaeological sites show evidence of hemp or reeds being exchanged between couples getting married.
Ancient Egyptians viewed the circle as a symbol of eternity, and the ring served to signify the never-ending love between the couple.
This was also the origin of the practice of wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger of the left hand, which the Egyptians believed to house a special vein that was connected directly to the heart, running from the fourth finger of the hand into the chest, or the “Vena Amoris”.
The HB Ring places a high tech spin on this ancient tradition, allowing wearers to connect their respective Vena Amoris. Once wearing the HB ring, users simply tap their ring and it sends out a signal to the pair-bonded partner ring, no matter where it is.
Design and Construction
The Touch presents their HB Ring as the end result of over 2.5 years of research, prototyping and development.
Forgoing the new tradition of launching consumer wearable tech, The Touch HB Ring is a self-financed launch, describing themselves as a combination of Czech, Swiss, German and Japanese manufacturers. The external construction of the HB touch is the result of many cycles of the manufacturing process, with the housing designed and created by specialists from the Swiss high-end watch manufacturing industry.
Size was an important factor in the design of the HB Touch. A typical gold wedding band has a standard width of 6.5mm, and a thickness of 2.5mm. Average ring diameter is usually 19mm, but this obviously can change from wearer to wearer.
The HB Ring remains quite close to this traditional size, despite all of the included high tech components. The HB Ring is just 3.9mm in thickness, with a width of just 12.1mm, and comes in a variety of diameters from 19mm to 21mm, accommodating most finger sizes. The HB Touch ring has a low profile and is offered in 6 sizes overall.
The external housing of the HB Ring is constructed from unibody sapphire crystal, which is in theory unscratchable, making it orders of magnitude more durable than your average gold wedding band. Sapphire crystal is the second hardest material found on the planet, after diamond.
Each individual band takes over 8 hours to machine and the close fit between the housing and the internal components makes the HB Ring waterproof for short duration, such as washing your hands, but won’t hold up to prolonged immersion. The inner housing of the ring is made from rose gold, which is harder to scratch than traditional gold, or stainless steel, depending on the price point chosen.
Below the sapphire crystal exterior lies a sophisticated array of sensors. A flexible light strip runs around the exterior of the ring, providing a unique uniform lighting stripe, which was custom developed to give the closest visual representation of a heartbeat in a vein.
The next inner layer beneath the light strip contains a wrap-around lithium ion battery with enough juice to power the HB Ring for over 160 hours of standby time, and 14 hours of active use. This layer also contains a multidimensional flex-rigid custom printed control board to operate the ring’s sensors and bluetooth communication array.
The innermost ring of the HB Ring contains a small window through which an advanced heartbeat monitor detects the heartbeat of the wearer. This sensor port is also constructed from sapphire crystal.
The HB Ring chargers are designed together with German manufacturer of high-end jewellery boxes, and come in two options. The first, a single box charger, comes with a single dock, and the second, a larger ‘Double Piano Black’ charger box allows both rings to be charged at once.
Both charger docks come with cream white soft padding interior and a shiny black finish, and the double charger is included with orders of the Solid Rose Gold HB Rings.
How does the HB Ring Work?
Once newlyweds have said their vows and taken the plunge, the HB ring is worn on the ring finger and connected via bluetooth to a smartphone. The HB ring is currently compatible only with iOS users in it’s beta stage, but will offer android support by the time shipment is made.
Users simply download the app, pair the rings, and they’re ready to start touching. The app is simple but offers all of the typical features you’d expect from a bluetooth connected wearable, such as battery life remaining and connectivity status.
Once the HB rings are paired with the app, users double tap the touch sensitive exterior of the HB Ring.
The lighting strip flashes once to notify the wearer that the request has been sent, and after a few seconds the ring will light up with the real-time heartbeat of the partner wearing the other ring. The paired ring, however, does not show any notification if your partner is viewing your heartbeat.
As the HB ring uses bluetooth to connect to and use the internet connection of your smartphone, you’ll need a phone with an active data plan to share your heartbeat with your partner.
The data usage of the HB ring is relatively small however, and will use less than half a megabyte per day if connected to the other ring ten to fifteen times a day. The communication protocol used to transmit your biometric data to your partner is also completely secure and not shared with any third party.
The HB Ring will be compatible on shipment with both Android and iOS devices, and requires bluetooth 4.0 and higher, which includes most modern smartphones released after the iPhone 4s.
HB Ring Availability and Pricing
The HB ring is currently available for pre-order via The Touch HB Ring website, with the Solid Rose Gold HB Rings being delivered November 2016. Stainless Steel HB Rings will be shipping from December 2016.
The Solid Rose Gold rings are available from $3,000 USD, and the stainless steel variants from $600 USD. The rings will ship with 2 two charger boxes (or the double charger box in the case of the Rose Gold HB Rings), user manual, and USB cable.