Token’s smart ring is so helpful, it would make Tolkien jealous

Going abroad? You’ll have to call your credit card company and give them a heads up, just to prevent them from marking your purchases as fraudulent (which still might happen). Logging into Twitter or Gmail? If you have two-factor authentication, you’ll have to wait to get a pin from an SMS, or confirm your authenticity via an authorized device. A new smart ring called Token is trying to make it all simpler, with the help of your fingerprint.

Token is both the name of the ring and the company that’s behind it, which was founded in 2016. The ring won’t track your calories or steps, but it can perform more powerful tasks that may make your everyday life a lot easier. The circular ring — which comes in sterling silver, rose gold, and black — contains Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, along with a fingerprint and optical sensor. First, place your ring finger’s print on the sensor, which is located on the inner ring. Then put the ring on, and the optical sensor detects that you’re wearing it. The optical sensor recognizes when the ring is off, and will then shut it down so it cannot be used until your finger reauthorizes it.

At launch there will be six main functions of the Token smart ring: Store your passwords, allowing you to log in with just two knocks; unlock your front door; tap and go with more than 50 transit systems worldwide; replace your workplace access card; unlock your car; and add your credit card to make payments at more than 15 million stores.

The end of passwords

Token can save all the passwords you use to log into various sites and devices. For example, if you connect your laptop to your ring via Bluetooth and save your password, the next time it’s locked, simply knock twice on a hard surface and you’ll be logged in automatically. The same applies to websites, and Token is working with partner companies in the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to make experience smooth. The ring can even act as your second factor authentication, as well as your first.

Managing these credentials is done through the companion app — add your usernames and passwords during the initial set up of the ring, and you can delete them at any time. The company said the Web Authentication Application Programming Interface (API) will be supported by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple’s Safari, “so your Token ring will be able to communicate directly with Gmail through Chrome with no apps involved for creating or using credentials.”

Payment ring, and transit

Token’s NFC sensor allows it to make payments at contactless terminals, just like Apple Pay or Android Pay — except you don’t need to make an account to use it. Simply add your card information in the app, and you can start making payments at stores with NFC terminals. The company has worked with Mastercard and Visa to make sure Token is accepted as a secure payment device.

It also means that the ring will work with public transportation services that use tap-and-go NFC systems — like London, and San Francisco. More than 50 transit systems worldwide use NFC, and 30 more are set to go live in 2018, including New York City.

Open doors, start cars, access your workplace

Token has also worked with a third-party company to build a smart door lock that can open with the NFC ring. It’s called Token Lock.

There’s also the Token Car Plug, which connects to your car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), and it allows you to use Token to unlock your car with two knocks when nearby. The company has also worked to make the ring HID SEOS-enabled, meaning you can ditch your work access card.

There’s a lot Token will be able to do when it ships in December, but the company said it’s looking to more third-party companies to add support for other devices and services.

Token is waterproof up to 50 meters, and the company claims a two-week battery life. It charges inductively via a dock, and to check the ring’s battery life — just tap it twice and you’ll see either green, orange, or red.

The ring — which comes in U.S. sizes 6-12 — will cost $250 for the sterling silver variant, whereas the 14K rose gold model and black rhodium color will be $300. There are three bundles at launch: $350 for Token and Token Lock; $350 for Token and Token Car Plug; and $400 for all three. They’re all available for pre-order now at The Token app supports Android, iOS, Windows 10, and MacOS.


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