RCA student designs Oyster card ring

Benjamin with his design. Photo by Matt Writtle.

Wearable card may revolutionise travel for Londoners.

A Royal College of Art student has designed a wearable Oyster card – the electronic travel card used to pay for London transport – in the form of a ring.

The design, by former graphic designer Benjamin Parton, is a chunky blue plastic ring which he’s named the Oi.

The ring works much like the present credit-card sized plastic Oyster cards by holding week or month-long travel cards and money, which allows the wearer through the gates at tube stations or onto buses by pressing the ring on the radio frequency discs which read the cards, permitting travel.

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Parton said: “I thought the card had become synonymous with London and was even a little bit loved for its designs but it’s remained unchanged for eight years and as an object I thought it lacklustre and boring. I wondered if it would be made more fun.”

Parton’s resulting ring design aims to stop passengers from fumbling about in their bags or pockets when they reach a station or get on the bus.

Speaking with Professional Jeweller, Parton said: "I’m getting a lot of interest with the rings from all sort of people, and they do come in other colours – the colours of the tube map. You can accessorise or pick one that represents your daily commute. I also do a transparent one."

Parton went through 30 different designs for the radio frequency coil that is contained inside the ring. He tested them late at night after designing different types during the day.

The Oi has also been designed to be worn on a watch strap if the gents aren’t sure about wearing it as a ring.

Parton has filed a patent for the design and expects to sell them for £6, though he is still in need of a manufacturer.

Present Oyster cards can be purchased from Transport for London for £3, which is returned if the owner gives the card back.

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