The transition from wrist to finger has occurred. Was it successful? That will require some time to answer…
The company and wearable, Ōura, is described as “a revolutionary ring-sized wellness computer that helps you sleep and perform better”(1). At the time of this artice their kickstarter page, which can be viewed HERE, has already passed their funding goal of $100,000.00 twice, with 33 days to go. This is not uncommon among new wearable tech (Remember the now abandoned Olive stress wristband?). Our team at Ascend Biology are excited about this trend in wearables, as it means economies of scale will soon be at work, most likely leading to better, more affordable health technology. We are slightly skeptic about the ring’s performance claims, as using pulse oximetry, or photoplethysmography, to measure heart rate variability (HRV) has some conflicting views (more noticeably when person is moving)(2)(3)(4). The company claims to have accurate algorithms; I would be interested in seeing the studies and accompanying data. Nevertheless, this device and it’s attention is great! There is a need for more studies in the field of preventive health and the effects of such variables as HRV, temperature, and heart rate. The process seems to go a little something like this: consumer interest peaks creating possibilities in revenue generation, studies are created to try and validate, or show limitations of the trending device or practice, progress is made. There will always be companies which don’t succeed because their device doesn’t deliver as promised, but accuracy seems to not be as important as practical implications of the relative measurements to the majority of consumers; just check out fitbit’s calories burned section.
Don’t lose the forest of fitness among the wearable trees… In order to ascend biology, we need to keep in mind our goal for wearable tech: provide actionable plans from reasonably accurate data measurements that will enhance our fitness; If the wearable device can’t do that, it belongs on the shelf next to the Spider-Man action figures. With that said, we hope the technology and programming in Ōura delivers, as it’s a nice change from the wristband, and it looks slick.