Fishing a farecard out of a wallet or the bottom of a purse can be a nuisance, especially if you have to dig around for it. And nothing ticks off subway commuters more than some bumbling clod creating a bottleneck at the turnstile as they root around for their card.
However, two MIT students, Edward Tiong and Olivia Seow, have created a 3-D printed ring that aims to rid the daily commute of such scenes. Their so-called Sesame Ring is embedded with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip compatible with the city’s MBTA CharlieCard, a rechargeable farecard used at turnstiles. Tiong and Seow even got legal clearance to use the ring on Boston’s T.
Riders use the ring as they would a CharlieCard. To add money, users simply touch the ring to an MBTA vending machine and pay using cash or card.
“We are not inventing anything new or cutting edge. We are looking at the most common technology that has been around for a long time, and saying, hey maybe we can do something different with this,” Tiong said, according Fast Company.
Tiong Seow got their idea after watching a university in Singapore give students RFID jewelry to open doors. The pair figured the same technology could be applied to American transit systems. Once MBTA gave their approval, Tiong and Seow settled on 3-D printing as the most cost-effective option for manufacturing the rings.
Unlike many wearable technologies, the rings are discreet, with a surprisingly fashionable design. Upon order, users even get to choose four letter initials that will appear on the face of the ring.
The Ring Theory — Seow and Tiong’s company — recently raised $19,000 on Kickstarter, well over their project’s initial goal of $5,000. Each customizable, waterproof ring costs $17.
Credit: The Ring Theory, Kickstarter