Ride the Bling Line: Kickstarter project swaps CharlieCard for customized rings

Sick of fishing through your purse or flashing your wallet every time you ride the MBTA? A Kickstarter project, Sesame Ring, is now offering stylish RFID rings that you can simply tap against CharlieCard readers as you sail through the crowds, no excavations necessary.

“Having missed the train many times while fishing for our Charlie Cards (smart cards used for public transportation in Massachusetts), we looked for a solution in wearable technology. After months of hard work, we created the 3D-printed Sesame Ring, supported by the MBTA,’’ the project page states. “Now, you can walk right up to the gantry, use scientifically approved magic, and scoot on through!’’


The project actually relies on fairly standard technology, just packaged in a slightly different format and shrunk down to be more wearable: The Sesame Ring creators, undergraduates at MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design, said they launched a 300-ring “beta’’ as welcome gifts for SUTD freshmen in May, and have been working on further improvements since.

“We’ve also developed a sleeker design and a more effective assembly method that would make sense for mass production,’’ Edward Tiong, one of the project’s creators, wrote in an email. “3D printing allows us to customize ring faces that identifies with target users.’’

He said the MBTA has been helpful getting the project off the ground.

“MBTA thought that it would be a ‘fun idea’ to work on, and were very supportive in us exploring it from the start,’’ Tiong noted. “Their openness to innovation is what transforms small ideas like ours into products that reach the hands of many (literally!), and we are very appreciative of that!’’

Aside from Tiong, who described himself as the project technologist, Olivia Seow, designer, and Chris Benson, business advisor, are also working on the project.

With 22 days left in the project, the project has raised $800 of its $5,000 goal. The team homes that its stylish technology will find other interested customers beyond the MBTA, seeing possibilities for corporate security, dorm entrances, and more.

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