Put A Ring On It

This piece of smart jewelry could be a lifesaver.


Oura ring provides users with a daily health report via their phone. Photograph courtesy of Oura Ring

By Julia Szabo

The ring finger happens to be the perfect pulse indicator, an ideal source for accurate and reliable data. With its elegant design, the Oura smart ring, which is paired with a mobile app tracker, replaces rubies and emeralds with NTC temperature sensors, gleaming green or infrared-LED; there’s even an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Although it is not a medical device, it can help you track health indicators like temperature, quality of sleep and heart rate, plus the current preoccupation of everyone on the planet: possible COVID-19 infection.

While you’re reading the morning news update with your cup of coffee, bulletins tuned to your personal biorhythms are just as useful when lining up the day’s agenda. For example, you may awaken to a morning greeting revealing your readiness score. Let’s say it measures 85; here’s what you’ll see on your phone: GOING STRONG. Last night’s sleep could’ve been better, but your readiness is still good. On other days, when fighting infection, you could use a helpful Oura tag “Flu,” and take immediate action to help your body recover.

Meanwhile, providing insights on your sleep quality throughout the slumber cycle—from deep, REM, to light sleep—Oura’s sensors continually monitor the body’s pulse and movement. Most importantly, the ring measures temperature directly from the wearer’s skin. With temp-taking becoming more critical as a front-line defense against viral spread, this is Oura’s most timely draw. An Oura wearer can be alerted to noteworthy changes in, say, menstrual cycle phases, or, more pressingly, COVID-19 symptoms before one starts to feel ill. More studies are needed regarding whether Oura or any other wearable tech can accurately assess the health of patients who show no symptoms at all. But the NBA isn’t sidelining smart rings: Players and team staff are given the option to wear Oura to ascertain their “illness probability score,” indicating whether they might be at risk of contracting
(or already having) COVID-19.

Durable and lightweight, Oura weighs a scant 0.25 ounce and calls itself “the most comfortable smart ring in the world.” Among the 10 widely acknowledged best smart rings on the market—including McLEAR, Jakcom R3 and Alotm R3—Oura is recognized as the most advanced in terms of sleep tracking and battery life, although its primary competition—Motiv—leads in security features. The $300 wireless device is also the most convenient, thanks to its extended battery life (a single one-hour charge lasts up to seven days—longer than any other smart ring). Fans include the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Dr. Mark Hyman, and the fitness polymath known as Da Rulk (@da_rulk), who says, “Thankfully there’s technology today that exists to provide feedback to your own health and wellness. The Oura ring is a great example.” ouraring.com