It was only a matter of time before smart wearables were involved in the process of potentially helping to identify those who may have the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, infection. Oura, which makes smart wearable rings are working with the University of California, San Francisco, for a study that will evaluate how wearables and the health data they collect can be used to predict or identify a case of Coronavirus infection much earlier than it usually happens otherwise. Anyone who owns an Oura ring can participate in the UCSF TemPredict study.
“With the backdrop of COVID-19, Oura is sponsoring research at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to study whether physiological data collected by the Oura ring, combined with responses to daily symptom surveys, can predict illness symptoms,” says Oura. The study will be used to build an algorithm to help UCSF identify early patterns of onset of the Coronavirus, as well as the progression and eventual recovery from the infection. The Oura Rings are worn by users as a way to track sleep and heart rate, as well as changes in body temperature. At this time, no smart wearable has the confirmed capabilities to detect COVID-19, but there is hope that the data they collect regularly will help in predicting the impact of the infection.
The UCSF TemPredict study will include two different demographics of users—the general population which is us, and the frontline health workers who are treating patients with confirmed Coronavirus infections in hospitals around the world. “More than 2,000 healthcare workers — doctors, nurses, and others — who are in daily contact with patients who may be afflicted with COVID-19 at UCSF campuses will receive Oura rings. By letting healthcare workers easily track changes in their body temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate, they may be better equipped to understand early warning signs of infection within the group,” says Oura.
The The UCSF TemPredict study clarifies that users have to wear the Oura ring when they go to bed and must wear it the entire night. The volunteers are not required to wear it during the day. You can also take part in this study by downloading the Oura app on your Android phone or Apple iPhone and taking part in an eligibility survey—if you are eligible, the company will ship and Oura ring to you which you must wear every night for 3 months, complete daily surveys and allow researchers access to the collected data including temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep, and activity. You will have to return the Oura ring after the period of study is complete. The Oura ring has infrared LEDs, NTC temperature sensors, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope to collect data as you wear it around your finger. The company says it is the most accurate place to detect heart rate, Heart Recovery Ventilation (HRV) and body temperature stats.