John McLear is a class act. I wish I had a taller mountain to shout this from so that I could let the world know that even though Kickstarter horror stories seem to be a dime a dozen these days, Mr. McLear and his eponymous company, McLear Ltd., are a stellar example of Kickstarter done right. They will be the benchmark by which I evaluate all future projects that I support.
Having already backed a few projects, I was already familiar with Kickstarter when in the summer of 2013 I stumbled on John McLear’s project to create a ring embedded with a pair of NFC tags. I believe that by the time I made my pledge, the project was on fire, having already exceeded its funding goal and then some. Between an amazing idea and immense amount of upfront R&D, it was easy to see why it was so popular.
That’s not to say that there weren’t a number of bumps and set backs along the way. Originally the rings were predicted to be shipped to backers in September of 2013. Engineering challenges, manufacturing mishaps, and an act of God combined to push back production and, in turn, shipping. Through it all, McClear kept his backers posted – never making excuses and never sugar coating anything.
My ring finally arrived in February of 2014. It was a stunner: shiny titanium with two black inlays. It was supposed to have a black carbon fiber inlay, but the team had wisely suspended their struggle with the technical challenges presented by carbon fiber in order to avoid ongoing delays. I didn’t care. As far as I was concerned the ring looked great, and even though its performance with my new Galaxy Note 3 was less than ideal (I blame the phone’s antenna), I could not have been a more satisfied backer.
In August of 2015 I received a project update regarding a second Kickstarter campaign for a new and improved 2016 version of the NFC Ring. The new rings shunned titanium for a “high-tech ceramic” that tripled the operating range of the ring. The new antenna material combined with an improved NFC tag powered by an NXP NTAG216 chip made it obvious that this was not a minor upgrade but a new generation entirely.
To my astonishment, the update was not sent to me in an effort to solicit my support for the new project – it was already funded by this point, but rather to let me know that I was eligible for a free 2016 ring since they were unable to deliver the carbon fiber ring I was originally promised. I was floored. The original project had long since wrapped up, a success by any measure, but John McClear still felt like he owed us, his original backers. Class. Act.
My new 2016 Eclipse NFC Ring arrived today. Neither words nor the photos that follow do justice to its beauty. It is work of art as much as it is a feat of engineering. Since I wanted to get this post up right away, I haven’t had an opportunity to do much with the ring yet, but the first thing I did do was to confirm that it works perfectly with the Galaxy Note 3 that I am still toting. Hopefully in the coming days I will get a chance to write more about my experiences using the new ring, but for now, onto the photos…
To pick up one for yourself, visit the NFC Ring Store.