Science

Smart ring can flag Covid-19 during its initial stage

Mumbai | Updated on December 15, 2020

The scientists used Oura Ring -- a wearable sensor made by the Finnish startup Oura -- which pairs to a mobile app, and continuously measure sleep and wakefulness, heart and respiratory rates, and temperature.

A new study stated that a smart ring that monitors temperature data continuously can flag coronavirus in its initial stage.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports suggested that the device can indicate illness better than a thermometer. This can further help in early isolation and testing for Covid-19.

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of California. They analyzed data collected from 50 Covid-19 infected people and found that smart ring data detected higher temperatures in people with symptoms of Covid-19.

The researchers added that they are yet to figure out if the ring can detect asymptomatic people as well. The scientists, however, said for 38 of the 50 participants, fever was identified when symptoms were unreported or even unnoticed.

"Many factors impact body temperature. Single-point temperature measurement is not very meaningful," said study co-author Ashley Mason from UCSF.

"People go in and out of fever, and a temperature that is clearly elevated for one person may not be a major aberration for another person. Continual temperature information can better identify fever," Mason noted.

To conduct the study, the scientists used Oura Ring -- a wearable sensor made by the Finnish startup Oura -- which pairs to a mobile app, and continuously measure sleep and wakefulness, heart and respiratory rates, and temperature.

The researchers provided the rings to nearly 3,400 health care workers across the US and enrolled more than 65,000 participants for their observational study.

According to the scientists, the ring records temperature all the time, so each measurement is contextualized by the history of that individual, making relative elevations easier to spot.

The researchers said the ring could also record changes related to other illnesses such as increased or reduced heart rate and changes in respiration rate. However, they noted that these changes were not as strongly correlated.

Published on December 15, 2020

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