Oura’s smart ring is a role player in NBA’s restart plan
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the sports world to its core. After months without live sporting events, professional leagues are finalizing plans to get back on track. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is among the leagues closest to a formal return.
However, it won’t be doing so alone. As part of a 100-plus page memo, the league outlined guidelines for a safe return to play. Along with standard precautions like social distancing and wearing masks, the NBA highlighted an interesting piece of tech- the Oura smart ring.
The unique smart gadget will play a role in professional basketball’s return to play by helping athletes and coaches track key body metrics that predict COVID-19 infections.
Combining Tech and Sports
Few tech breakthroughs have impacted the sports world more than things like advanced analytics. However, the Oura ring has a chance to cement itself as one of sports’ most impactful gadgets.
Although it has been available for several years, the smart ring once again rose to prominence when a study from West Virginia University found that it can detect COVID-19 symptoms three days before they show up.
The Oura ring features a suite of advanced sensors that measure everything from temperature to heart rate and respiratory rate to sleep patterns. Thanks to its minimalist profile, it’s easy to put the ring on and forget that you’re wearing it.
Originally, the Oura ring wasn’t created to help prevent disease. Its ability to detect COVID-19 ahead of time with a 90 percent success rate has certainly transformed its usefulness.
A memo sent out by the NBA players union notes that an Oura ring will be offered to each player. As the league prepares to resume its season in a “bubble” format at Walt Disney World next month, the smart ring will be more than just another accessory. Of course, wearing the ring won’t be mandatory. It is simply another way for players to stay ahead of the curve.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, connected tech has been an invaluable ally. Not only does it help individuals track their symptoms and take control of their health, it also helps map outbreaks. In turn, public health agencies are able to get ahead of them and prevent them from getting worse.
In April, The Burn-In discussed how Kinsa’s smart thermometers were doing just that. The company’s connected thermometers automatically sync anonymous temperature data to databases that let public health authorities create a real-time “heat map” of the United States. By subtracting out normal results, it’s possible to see where the next disease outbreak might occur.
Now that the initial wave of COVID-19 is mostly behind us, focusing on preventing secondary outbreaks will be a key step until a vaccine is found. Using smart tech like the Oura ring and Kinsa thermometers makes the process more effective.
As some of the world’s best athletes prepare to take the court next month in Orlando, it will be interesting to see how the Oura ring comes into play. Moreover, trends like how the smart ring is used for other groups-such as healthcare workers and teachers-will be worth keeping an eye on.
Originally published at https://www.theburnin.com on June 19, 2020.