A smart ring can mark Covid-19 during its initial stage

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

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggested that the device may indicate disease better than a thermometer. This may further aid in early isolation and testing of Covid-19.

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

The researchers added that they are still figuring out if the ring can also detect asymptomatic people. The scientists, however, said for 38 of the 50 participants that fever was identified when symptoms were not reported or even unnoticed.

“A lot of factors affect body temperature. One-point temperature measurement is not very significant,” said study co-author Ashley Mason of UCSF.

“People come in and out because of a fever, and a temperature clearly elevated for one person may not be a major aberration for another person. Continued temperature information may better identify fever,” Mason noted.

To conduct the study, the scientists used an Oura Ring – a portable sensor manufactured by the Finnish startup Oura – that pairs with a mobile phone program, and continuously measures sleep and wakefulness, heart and respiratory speeds and temperature.

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

According to the scientists, the ring records temperature at all times, so each measurement is contextualized by that individual’s history, facilitating relative elevations.

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