Designing the next generation of wearables, with women in mind

A new class of wearables designed specifically for women won’t just look more fashionable, they’ll function differently, too.

Ringly, a ring that connects to a smartphone and alerts wearers about incoming texts or calls via vibration and flashing lights, is Mercando’s mission to merge fashion and technology. And despite housing an accelerometer, Bluetooth LE, a motor, and tiny LEDs, the wearable device, which will go on sale next summer, won’t look like a gadget. “Design is our top focus,” says Mercando, a former product VP at the personalization service Hunch, which was later acquired by eBay. “We want our customers to want to buy the products even if they didn’t have the functionality.”

After months of research and $1 million in funding, Mercando, the cofounder and CEO of Ringly, has settled on gold-plated brass bands with stones for the initial merchandise. Because of the internal components, the rings will fall on the bigger side of the finger-accessory spectrum–but not so large that women wouldn’t wear them, Mercando assures, claiming that they will look much like the low-tech ones she saw while perusing stores.

For those more inclined to wrist accessories, MEMI is developing similar technology in bangle form, also slated to go on sale summer 2014. The metal bracelet is tapered, asymmetrical, and has a narrow clasp. “It works well with women’s fingers and thumbs,” said founder Leslie Simmons Pierson. … (Read more)