Kerv lets you pay in shops and restaurants, travel on public transport and unlock your front door contactlessly. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, until you realize this isn’t a smartphone, smartwatch or bank card – it’s a ring.
Successfully funded on Kickstarter towards the end of 2015, Kerv is now taking pre-orders and aims to deliver its smart NFC ring to backers by July.
With a price tag of £49.99 it’s certainly not the most expensive wearable on the market, but considering it does things your phone, bank card or contactless travel card already does it could seem a little on the pricey side.
What Kerv has going for it though is simplicity and accessibility. It doesn’t require you to rummage around in a pocket or bag, you’re not going to accidentally drop it on the floor as you reach for a reader and it’s not as easy to steal.
The scratch and waterproof solid plastic ring may not be the most attractive piece of jewelry ever crafted, but it’s far from ugly. It’s lightweight, and its low profile around your finger means you’ll soon forget you’re even wearing it.
We tried on the ring at the Wearable Technology Show in London and found a comfortable fit greeted us, with its soft rubber interior hugging our digit nicely.
The payment feature requires you to top-up the ring, which can be done either via the app or the Kerv website, in a similar vain to London’s Oyster Card system employed on public transport in the British capital. You can also set your account to auto top-up, preventing you from running out of credit.
As the ring works in a similar way to a contactless card it doesn’t need to be charged, giving you the peace of mind that it will always work (assuming your vendor of choice accepts this type of payment).
There were just two colors on show, black and white, but there is scope to expand this in the future. As for the dilemma of ring sizes the Kerv currently has 12 different options, although this provides a headache when it comes to manufacturing and costs.
Kerv founder Philip Campbell told he’d like to get the size selection down to around five, but the firm was waiting for feedback from early adopters before making any final decisions.