Oura has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to study whether the Oura ring can help detect early physiological indicators of COVID-19. Approximately 2000 healthcare professionals on the frontline will receive the rings to wear during the study. The Oura ring measures a wearer's body temperature and heart rate, and tracks sleep patterns and activity levels. As fever is an early symptom of COVID-19, a high continuous temperature reading may detect fever early. The purpose of the study is to determine whether readings from the ring might be useful to detect COVID-19 when analyzed with other data and symptoms.
In fact, an Oura user in Finland was prompted to get tested for COVID-19 after viewing data from the ring showing an elevated temperature (over 100F), as well as a higher than normal heart rate and breathing rate. Although he was asymptomatic, the test results indicated that he had COVID-19. Dr. Ashley Mason, a researcher at UCSF, hypothesizes that the Oura ring may be able to detect COVID-19 onset two to three days before more obvious symptoms appear, such as coughing.
Oura recently announced $28 million in Series B funding, as well as sales of over 150,000 rings. The company plans to allow those 150,000 users to opt into sharing their data as part of the study.
The company has documents in the Metrics and Sensors categories in the Consumer Sleep Technology sector. Oura faces competition from other wearable device makers, such as Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung. However, unlike Oura, many other wearables do not measure temperature. Will other companies begin incorporating temperature into their devices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?