A ring made from technical ceramics is set to become the new means of contactless payment.
Contactless payments usually come in the form of credit and debits cards, smart cards, smart phones and other electronic devices. They make payments faster and easier, especially when you have forgotten your PIN number, and also more dangerous. Anyone who finds a contactless card can use it for some time before its owner discovers the loss.
Such payments have become a boon for retailers, who have found that customers will spend more money because the transactions are easier and faster.
Move over cards and phones. The new method of contactless payment comes in the form of jewellery. Not just any old jewellery, but a ring made from technical ceramics.
The ring has been developed by a partnership of PSI-Pay that uses a MasterCard licence and Edinburgh-based Kerv Wearables Ltd. It is made from zirconia, one of the range of technical ceramics used in the aerospace industry.
Zirconia is found in three phases: a monoclinic, a cubic and a tetragonal phase. It has been commonly used to produce dental fixtures such as crowns and bridges. It has a very fine grain, so a zirconia product can be manufactured to have either very sharp edges or very smooth surfaces. This makes it ideal for use in dentistry.
Zirconia is far less brittle than other technical ceramics, and its fracture toughness combines with a high density and a high thermal resistance. It is stable up to 2,400 degrees C. This has resulted in zirconia acquiring a nickname of “ceramic steel” among electronics manufacturers.
Such properties mean that it can be used for components in extreme environments such as the aerospace and energy sectors. Now you can wear exactly the same type of ceramic as jewellery on the beach.
A day at the beach has always meant finding elaborate ways of carrying cash and cards in purses that should not be obvious to a passing thief. You need to be able to pay for a drink or an ice cream without fishing out cards, cash or even a phone that later drops by accident into the sea or swimming pool.
Kerv’s range of contactless rings are black or white on the outside and a variety of other colours on the inside.
Later developments are scheduled to include a ring made of precious metal, possibly encrusted with diamonds or other stones, but also with the zirconia ceramic built in. Shopping with jewellery is the way of the future.