The digital era is probably at its peak right now. From social media to virtual reality, we all have digital identities, and ever since the pandemic we have been living in our devices. This comes with its own set of pros and cons but one of the most popular complaints people have is about their data being misused. So how do we stop or regulate data mining and make people feel safe again? Argodesign attempts to answer that question with their wearable tech concept, the Me.Ring which basically helps you be in incognito mode in real life.
Me.Ring is essentially a connected switch that you wear on your finger and flipping it controls how you want to share your data. When you are okay with your data being collected (from your face, your location, or just about anything else), you switch it on. When you want to stay private, you switch it off. This conceptual ring lets you be a digital ninja by giving you control of your data so you can opt out of your actions being recorded/analyzed forever. “The ring almost acts as the keys to engage (or not) with society, to whatever degree you’re comfortable,” says Jenny Clark, associate creative director at Argodesign, who created the hardware mockup. A design like Me.Ring will require a robust software infrastructure and buy-in from the government + private companies to be able to fulfill its purpose. There is a lot of potential for making it an inclusive design that can serve sections of our demographic that require more monitoring.
In many ways, it is similar to the personal smart devices and gadgets we own with added controls and an integrated app that will let you choose your sharing settings. Me.Ring will use Bluetooth and other low-power wireless protocols that could communicate, not just with your phone, but with beacons in your environment such as smart turnstiles, sidewalks, cameras, and digital signs. The ring will be able to send signals to these points of access and sensors in your environment. It would clarify whether your data was collectible, which parts of your data were collectible, and for what purpose. “For private-sector entities interested in using or collecting your data will be allowed to send you offers,” says Jared Ficklin, chief technologist and partner at Argodesign. For example, if you are getting coffee at Starbucks and notice a beacon, maybe a restaurant analyst company could ask to record the next 10 places you went out to eat for a small payment or coupon.
There are a lot of benefits to sharing your data as well and can shape societies into smarter cities with infrastructure that has been designed to serve diverse communities. It would be a very convenient personal database and storage making it easy to share your contact details when you are networking professionally or your medical data when you sick or are traveling in a pandemic. The ring’s switch would activate a collection of those preferences and customize it to you. Me.Ring is your liaison and data broker to an invisible world of data trackers. It gives us a glimpse into what the future could look like for data management, privacy and existing between the duality of our online and offline worlds.