CEO and Founder, AutoGrid
Oura Health’s sleep tracker has been a favorite among the Silicon Valley elite for years. But the $300 high-tech ring has taken on a much bigger role in 2020: learning how to use wearable tech to predict COVID-19 symptoms before they appear.
Oura has worked with the West Virginia Institute Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and WVU Medicine to create a system that researchers claim can detect COVID-19 symptoms up to three days early with 90% accuracy. An app is used to track factors like stress, anxiety, and memory, while Oura’s ring would gather physiological data like skin temperature, increased heart rate variability, and respiratory rate among other information.
The company has even sold more than 2,000 of its smart rings to the National Basketball Players Association to help flag symptoms early and mitigate the virus’ spread as players returned to the court on July 30 to finish the season.
Oura’s smart ring isn’t a medical device meant for diagnosing illness. But Harpreet Rai, CEO of Oura Health, says it opens up greater potential for how wearable devices can be used to help us better understand changes in our bodies that could signal when it’s time for a trip to the doctor.
“If you compare it to a car, we wait until the engine is broken, and it’s on the shop to figure out if something needs to be fixed,” Rai says. “What if our bodies could be understood like the dashboard of a car? I think that’s the way that these consumer devices will blend into working with the healthcare system.”