Two months after their original ship date and after raising 1000% of their original funding goal across two campaigns, our friends at SmartyRing have completely abandoned their original design and opted to completely redesign their wearable bluetooth ring using e-paper instead of LEDs. They site “battery life improvement” as the reason behind the change, but if I had to guess, I’d say that they ran into problems when trying to wire-bond 264 nearly microscopic LEDs to the small flexible circuit board. The sample image of their progress a few weeks ago even showed a few problems.
Still, flexible backlit e-paper displays are no walk in the park, and just starting this implementation now guarantees a shipping date that is at the very least six to twelve months out if it ever comes at all. Many backers are already upset because of the aesthetic change from exciting green LEDs to “boring black and white” e-paper. One wonders how many will sit idly through the immense shipping delay that is still to come.
Link to SmartyRing’s update page.