How did a sleep monitoring ring become a coronavirus detector?


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So there’s a coronavirus detector, and it’s a ring?

It’s the Oura Smart Ring, originally marketed as a health and sleep monitoring device, says it can predict up to 90% accuracy COVID-19 symptoms 3 days in advance.  

The tech was developed by the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and WVU Medicine who partnered with Oura to find COVID-19 symptoms in advance.

But how exactly does it detect COVID-19?

By measuring body temperature, respiratory functions, and heart rate. The ring, which holds advanced sensors, wraps around your finger, and monitors your pulse. From there it captures body signals like a resting heart rate, body temperature, and regular calorie burn. 

Oura iOS App

The ring is made of durable titanium, it features 2 infrared LED sensors, 2 NTC body temperature sensors, a 3D accelerometer, and a gyroscope.  It’s also water-resistant, playing into prospects for any athletic environment, with a charge lasting up to a week and can sync data allowing coaches to monitor realtime results.

Harpreet Rai, CEO of Oura Health, has already worked to distribute thousands of its tracking rings to frontline healthcare workers, beginning in March, to curb the spread of the pandemic. The company most recently optioned up the rings to monitor NBA players while in a bubble league at Walt Disney World.

The data potentially gathered by players will be reviewed by researchers at the University of Michigan to help generate an overall wellness assessment of each person. An NBAPA memo said players will have full access to all data collected on them, with team staff gaining access to data only when it shows a team member may be at higher risk of coronavirus.  

Anyone can wear a ring though, they just need to purchase one, retail starting at $300.00. As of late April, Oura had 150,000 ring users with over 30,000 signed up to participate in the COVID data research.

Some players have thoughts on how efficient it can be.

Other high profile wearers to date include Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, Prince Harry, and Michael Dell. So what about you? Would you or your organization try it to monitor for symptoms and protect your networks?

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


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