Some 2,000 emergency medical workers in San Francisco, California, are tracking their temperature and other vitals using the Indian American-founded Oura's smart rings in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Harpreet Singh Rai-founded Oura and researchers from U.C. San Francisco hope to use that data to develop an algorithm that will predict the onset of COVID-19 and help contain the virus.
Workers at UCSF Medical Center and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are wearing the devices, and Oura has asked another 150,000 users to share their data, the report says.
The rings aren't exactly comprehensive trackers, but they do record body temperature, heart rate and other vitals.
In the near term, they could alert medical workers if they have a fever or impending illness, not just COVID-19. By the fall, when some expect the coronavirus to resurge, UCSF and Oura hope to have an algorithm that will detect early symptoms of the virus, so that people can more effectively self-quarantine, according to the report.
One of the strategies at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, was to have residents report their temperatures daily and isolate at the first sign of fever, it said.
The ring, according to the publication, could allow users to do the same. But it would require that they hand over medical data, which opens up data privacy concerns.
There is some indication that this could work, though. Thanks to the Oura Ring, a Finnish business executive noticed that his temperature was higher than normal (about 100.4 Fahrenheit) and his heart and breathing rates were slightly increased, the Chronicle said.
While he reportedly felt normal otherwise, he had just been traveling in a coronavirus hotspot, so he was tested. The results were positive for COVID-19. Without the ring, he wrote on Facebook, he would not have noticed those changes, according to the report.
Oura’s primary product, the Oura Ring, is the world’s first wellness ring. The Oura Ring tracks how your body responds to your lifestyle by analyzing your sleep, activity levels, daily rhythms and the physiological responses in your body, according to its website.
Personalized for the user, the Oura Ring fits comfortably and stylishly on their finger and guides you towards better sleep, recovery and readiness to perform. Oura has users in over 60 countries, and several top universities, research organizations, sleep clinics, and companies are utilizing the data and insights Oura provides, the company says.
Raised in Michigan by Punjabi parents, Rai has always felt drawn to international travel, and continued this trend by opening his company in Finland with additional locations in Iceland and San Francisco, it said.