The Echo Loop smart ring is a terrible idea

I’ll admit I’m enamored with wearables. My Oura ring is my constant companion that lets me know when I’ve walked enough and how well I’m sleeping. It tracks me but not in any scary way.

Amazon’s Echo Loop, a smart ring with two tiny microphones and a button to call for Alexa, is a different beast entirely. Billed as a tool to bring Alexa on the go, it seems like an awful use of microelectronics and always-on surveillance.

Voice interfaces are, arguably, the future. But to stick these into a ring – or even a pair of eyeglass frames, which is another Echo product – seems to be barely useful. We can already shout at our phones and our smart speakers. Why do we need a microphone that is slightly closer to our bodies?

I’m no pearl-clutcher. I know where all of this is headed. We’re going to be connected to robots for the remainder of our lives and our memories, once fallible and organic, will become infallible and digital.

But this ain’t it, chief. A ring that listens to your grocery list is just another mini capture designed to sell you things. If we are going to move forward in wearable, always-on tech we need to be ready to cede far more of our brain power to the machines. Mumbling into our fingers won’t cut it.

I, for one, welcome our metallic overlords. I just thought they’d be more usable than a 50 cent vending machine toy.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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