"My thoughts on the Motorola clip is that it's great, as you can use your NFC ring instead of the clip on Motorola devices so everybody wins! Motorola haven't been in touch and also there is no incentive for telecommunications companies to support them with the clip so I think it might be tough for them to use the device to get new market penetration.
"Consumers aren't that security savvy but they are fashion conscious and I think the ring has a better image/brand than the clip."
John's attitude to competition is what's driving this project and probably what convinced so many people on Kickstarter to back it (7765 to a tune of $241,947 / £155,000 / AUS$270,000). He told us he was relaxed about competition from the larger brands in the NFC space, as it would help prove the technology to consumers.
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The device is completely open source and can be programmed and used in any way. The ring will be shipped with the necessary files so those with the necessary hardware can even 3D print their own rings at home and customise it however they want.
"We're doing this to show our love for the hacker community and to get as many people with access to prototyping and developing as quickly and affordable as possible," said McLear.
This is clearly a key point for the inventor: he wants people to hack the device as he believes in 'innovation and creativity'. Just like custom firmware for phones and consoles, he wants to encourage others to push the boundaries of what's possible with the NFC ring.
We're only at the start of what can be done with devices like the NFC ring and since automating everyday functions is becoming more and more standard, we could see it or similar items becoming an integral part of day to day life.
But, with any new technology, it's success is dependent on popularity rather than ability, and NFC has especially struggled to get user traction with a dearth of killer uses, which McLear acknowledges:
"[T]he future holds a bunch of community-created tools and wearable objects with security and access at the core. I think telecommunication companies and banks will continue to push [NFC] onto consumers and I think [areas like] Bitcoin will benefit massively from devices such as the NFC ring.
"NFC is mature enough right now for practical applications and it's clear NFC might end up being a great gateway to leveraging future tech such as cost effective inductive charging/coupling."
The idea is solid and the technology looks like it stands up to scrutiny; however, the big question mark hangs over whether any contactless technology can force its way into the hearts and minds of consumers.
Focusing on the fashion concious and hacker communities might be a great move for McLear, with both offering fierce loyalty if the product is right. The NFC ring will be heading out to Kickstarter backers from September this year, so perhaps in a couple of years' time shaking hands with a long-lost friend might go from a mere greeting to a chance to share all the info you've missed out on over the years.
- Check out the other side of the power-coin: see the 10 things you never knew your smartphone could do.