Mass Transit Powers… Activate! This Ring Could Replace Your Subway and Bus Pass

Stuff a ring with the same technology that lets you into the subway or onto a bus, and you've got yourself a Sesame Ring.

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Ring Theory

Here in Boston, we have the T, and if you ride the T with any regularity, you have a touch-sensitive CharlieCard. Who is Charlie? I have no idea. I’ve only lived here for like six years and it’s never come up.*

You tap your CharlieCard against the turnstile-ish gate to get into the subway system; you tap your CharlieCard against the money-taking thing to get on the bus; you tap your CharlieCard on machines that sell T rides in order to fill it up when the balance gets low.

I haven’t found quickly accessing my CharlieCard to be too much of a problem, but I keep it at the ready in an outer pocket of my wallet along with my two access cards for work and a stack of business cards (always be closing, am I right?)

However, I can see the appeal of having your CharlieCard at the ready, especially if you keep it in a purse (man purse or lady purse), messenger bag, diaper bag, sock, undergarment or strongly-velcro’d wallet.

In that spirit, a group of enterprising go-getters have cobbled together the Sesame Ring. It’s a – you guessed it – ring stuffed with the same magic found inside a CharlieCard, and can be customized with your own name on it and by color.

The group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to drum up enough money to begin mass producing this mass transit jewelry, with the hope of having the rings ready by the end of the year. You can lock in a non-customized ring with a $17 pledge; customized versions start at around $30.

Of course, if you’re not that patient, you could always dissolve your CharlieCard in acetone, remove the RFID guts, and attach them to the back of your phone (see how over at Hackaday). I’ve considered doing this on several occasions, but the thought of accidentally dissolving my fingers is enough to keep me using a standard CharlieCard like a chump. I need these fingers for work.

This particular ring idea is for the Boston-area transit system, of course, but if your local transit system uses a similar setup, there’s probably nothing stopping a similar ring from working in much the same way.

The idea could make sense for other RFID-enabled security systems, too, such as the ones used to grant access to office buildings. I could potentially replace all three RFID cards in my wallet with three cool-guy rings and have extra room for business cards, which means extra sizzle-selling and deal-sealing. Guys with multiple big rings always mean business, after all.

Sesame Ring [Kickstarter via Universal Hub]

*Okay, it came up, but I had to bring it up with myself for it to come up. Here’s the story behind Charlie.

15 comments
sphoenix75
sphoenix75

@TIME @Techland Hong Kong had this technology 20 years ago, except it was a watch or a multipass-type card.

alkiskz
alkiskz

@evlaman Предпочитаю говорить о вживлении таких девайсов, ибо удобнее ;-)

KevinCureau
KevinCureau

A ring for the bus and subway you say? Just like the watches and keychains that we already have in Hong Kong! And on top of that we can use these watches and keychains to pay in supermarkets.

Way ahead of you!

dvarets
dvarets

@TIME @Techland You can place this induction powered chip radio into anything wave transparent its only millimetres.

RaghavaChandra
RaghavaChandra

Nice idea, but personally I feel it will not have  universal appeal. I myself don't like to wear any rings, because they annoys  me a lot. Moreover, we share cards sometimes during other person need to go in hurry. This is personalised & cannot be shared. I don't want discourage but asking to address this problem

RickBennett
RickBennett

Charlie is from the Kingston Trio song about the MTA: "…and he never returned, no he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned. He'll ride beneath the streets of Boston, he's the man who never returned."