16lab-ring

16Lab, a wearable device maker and software developer based in Kamakura, Japan, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from the GB-V Growth Fund managed by Global Brain Corporation.

Aiming to develop minimalist personal computing devices, 16Lab is now working on its first product OZON, a ring-shaped wearable interface device now at theUS final stage of prototyping before mass production. 

OZON is a titanium ring with a pointed extrusion made up of a dual touch surface. By wearing OZON on a finger, users can control PCs, smartphones, tablets, cameras, televisions, lighting fixtures, or other electrical appliances. In addition to precise gesture recognition, OZON also comes with functions which enhance users’ life experiences, such as a contactless key function for doors at home and offices or server-logins, and an e-wallet payment transaction function.

The company has partnered with an array of leading technological partners, such as global manufacturer Alps Electric, to ensure strong functionalities along with security and reliability, according to Ko Kijima, CEO of 16Lab Inc. Manabu Tago, a multiple design awards winner, is leading the design team as a creative director.

With the investment, 16Lab will be able to complete the development of the first generation OZON. 16Lab currently plans to start shipping in eight countries in the summer of 2015.

“We were not only impressed by a working prototype of OZON and its vision, but also impressed by a design management implemented in the company,” said Yasuhiko Yurimoto, CEO of Global Brain.

Global Brain Corporation is a Tokyo-based independent venture capital founded in 1998, which focuses on seed to middle stage IT startup companies. It currently manages five funds with total fund of US$300 million.

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)