Dec 162009

Someone who has lived with schizophrenia for many years told me recently that mobile phones are the best-ever technology for people living with mental illness.

These days, he can walk down the middle of the street anywhere having a full-pelt argument with his ‘voices,’ and as long as he’s got a mobile phone next to his ear, everyone thinks he’s as normal as the next guy.

Well, life for my schizophrenic friend is getting better all the time; wearable bluetooth headsets have meant more and more people are pacing the streets, ranting into thin air, without a visible phone anywhere near them.

And now, in a great new development – the ORB (Orbital Ring Bluetooth Headset) is about to bring Bluetooth headset technology to the design-conscious masses.

The ORB is, indeed, one ring to rule them all. You wear it as a ring, you know, on your finger – and some ring models include an LED screen displaying caller-ID and calendar reminders.

When you want to make or take a call, you simply take the ring off your finger, give it a cunning twist and – voila! You have a Bluetooth earpiece.

The wonders of ‘bone conducting technology’ mean you put the ring around the outside of your ear, avoiding any gross-out earwax issues.

(Though I do admit to mild concerns about attaching a mini-microwave to my bones because of a little earwax squeamishness.)

Whether you’re genuinely mad, permanently hooked up to your cellphone, or you just think gadgets like these are ‘mad’ (as my teens would say) – this is one nifty little ring that will have loads of appeal for young, old and in-between. (Are you listening, Santa?)

Bottom line: Bluetooth headset converts to funky LED ring – to be released early in 2010
How much : US $129 without display, US $175 with display

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