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Hong Kong 'Smart' Ring Aims to Help Visually Impaired


An app controlling what an Orii smart ring will handle is seen on a smartphone, at Origami Labs at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.

A voice in your ear at the touch of a hand?

The Orii ring allows people to take phone calls, handle text messages and interact with a phone's digital assistant, all by transferring sound to a user's ear through bone conduction.

The ring, designed by Hong Kong-based start-up Origami Labs, was inspired by Peter Wong, the visually impaired father of the firm's co-founder Kevin Wong.

"As a visual-impaired person, I rely on the software on the smartphone to read the icons, the texts to me," said Peter Wong, who is a technical adviser for the ring.

Origami Labs co-founder Emile Chan poses with an Orii smart ring at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.
Origami Labs co-founder Emile Chan poses with an Orii smart ring at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.

A key feature ensures that only the user can hear the information conveyed by the ring.

"Can you imagine it reading out your password? That's inconvenient and inappropriate," Peter Wong said.

What began as a Kickstarter project has become the latest example of wearable, screen-free technology.

"We want to keep our heads up, we want to be able to stay more in the moment," said Kevin Wong, 29, who set up Origami Labs in November 2015 with three friends from university.

Orii smart rings with various colours are displayed in this illustration photo, at Origami Labs at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.
Orii smart rings with various colours are displayed in this illustration photo, at Origami Labs at Hong Kong Cyberport in Hong Kong, China, Aug. 3, 2017.

The tech wearable market grew 51 percent in Asia last year, according to consumer research firm GfK. The overall industry is expected to be worth $34 billion globally by 2020, research provider CCS Insight has said.

The Orii ring is expected to reach the commercial market by February.

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