When you heard about tracking health status, what was your first impression? A big screen showing a person’s heartbeat or seeing daily data in your Galaxy Watch 4?
Yes, like you, 1 in 5 Americans uses a smartwatch for monitoring their health. After the invention of the first Linux wristwatch by Steve Mann in 1998, the popularity of the smartwatch or fitness tracker has grown exponentially. In fact, people are now buying smart rings for fertility detection too. Yes, after hearing this news many of you may not have believed it either. But it’s actually happening. After back-to-back innovative features, the Oura smart ring finally got its FDA clearance for fertility tracking, which is thought to be a revolution in digital health care technology.
However, prior to the Oura Ring, another app called Natural Cycles was approved by the FDA in 2018, though it has many controversies surrounding it. Thus, is Oura Ring actually safe to use for fertility tracking? If yes, what makes the Oura Ring so special for getting FDA approval? Let’s have a look.
Dependence of Tracking
We live in the era of the digital age where the internet is available everywhere, and things like smart cars and smart homes will be the norm. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT), we are now able to track our daily activities.
Now, you can track your blood pressure by simply checking your Galaxy Watch, but before 2019, for monitoring heart rate, people had to go to the hospital and wait for long hours. Furthermore, inspired by Microsoft SPOT’s success, many companies have developed numerous fitness trackers for assessing activities such as monitoring heart health, quality of sleep, activity level, or stress management, which adds more fuel to the fire in digital health care industry.
They can even warn wearers of potential heart issues and summon help if they take a heavy fall and are unable to get up. Besides that, who doesn’t remember the pandemic period? Where the demand for fitness trackers suddenly increased. Yes, like you, many of your friends might have monitored their blood oxygen level through fitness tracker Sp02 sensors, as all of us were locked up inside the home. After hearing about these features, many people may recall some popular brand names like Apple, Fitbit, Galaxy, or Germin. But can all these fitness trackers be used for clinical measurements?
Well, as the days pass, on the basis of accuracy, some smartwatches or fitness trackers are FDA approved for clinical purposes, whereas others got clearance for trial.
Rise of Oura Ring
However, for monitoring heart health, people became confused between the choice and accuracy rate of fitness trackers. Then one particular gadget became the talk of the town recently, which is none other than the Oura Ring: Gen 3.
As a startup, Ōura Health Ltd. is a Finnish health technology company, which began its journey in 2013. Among tech lovers, it’s gained popularity for offering a fitness ring that’s virtually indistinguishable from an actual ring, with sensors located on the inside. But these sensors do not make the ring any thicker and are completely hidden when the ring is worn. It is available in a variety of designs and finishes, which introduces new innovations in the field of wearable electronics, particularly for fashionistas. But, like with every other startup business, there will always be bumps. And in Oura Ring’s case, the story is quite thrilling.
Harri Koskinen and his team designed the first generation of Oura Rings in 2015, which were made available to consumers via Kickstarter. According to the company, it was the world’s most advanced smart ring at the time, which, when combined with the app, helps you to achieve your health goals and measure holistic and accurate sleep cycles. Though the campaign was a huge success, issues such as limited size and poor battery performance caused the company to reconsider and opt for the second generation.
This time, the Gen 2 Oura Ring was noticeably smaller and looked very similar to a regular ring in size with a battery that can last up to 6-8 days on a single charge. The addition of a new gyroscope was also among the changes to provide better activity tracking. Aside from that, each morning, you’ll receive a readiness score based on your activity and sleep patterns, and through the NTC Sensor, you’ll be able to see biometrics like resting heart rate and heart rate variability. Thus, as a result of providing all of these features, the Oura Ring is thought to be an ideal option for detecting early signs of covid infection, though sufficient results could not be found to verify this claim.
Oura Ring New Generation 3
However, as the objective of the company is to inspire people to be more aware of their mind and body, on Oct. 26, Oura Health announced the third generation of its Oura Ring; which can now display biometric data such as daytime heart rate measurement via new green LEDs, workout heart rate, blood oxygen sensing, and period prediction.
After knowing the controversial aspects of Natural Cycles, many people gave up on tracking their fertility. Yet at the halfway point of this journey, a glimmer of hope appeared; when the significant effect of Oura’s temperature data was revealed, their algorithms were discovered to be ideal for fertility detection.
Experts found that the Oura is a more reliable tracker to use because, without any interruption, its temperature sensor detects temperature data once every minute, perpetually throughout the day, which is far better than the conventional oral thermometer. Still, some may prefer other devices for measuring nocturnal temperatures, such as armbands, bracelets, and earbuds. But there are a few studies that show promising results of the Oura Ring which has applications for measuring nocturnal finger skin temperature to monitor menstrual cycles in real-time. After knowing this fact, many of you might be curious to know how does this even work right?
Well, this amazing breakthrough was accomplished by measuring skin temperature between menstrual cycle phases and correlating skin temperature with oral temperature measurements immediately after waking up. Aside from that, the Oura temperature data can assess the unique temperature pattern, which can be detected in progesterone in the early stage of pregnancy. That means, while using this device, women might have a clear vision about the state of their pregnancy before going for an at-home pregnancy test.
Furthermore, with the help of Oura’s Period Prediction Beta feature, tracking menstruation cycles are getting much more manageable, which is currently available for iOS users only and will be soon available for android users too.
As a result of this verification, Oura finally got clearance from the FDA. And from now on, Natural Cycles digital birth control users can use temperature data from Oura smart rings to predict when someone may become pregnant or not. Thus, if it gets approved by the FDA, then countless lives can be saved as unintended pregnancy results in mortality and morbidity cases are rising globally.
There is a hope that in the next couple of years, through these types of smart rings, special biometrics patterns may reveal clues about the entire trajectory of pregnancies, miscarriage issues, preterm birth, delivery, and interactions between partners’ data.
Oura Rings may be an ideal choice for preliminary detection of early pregnancy, if it gets approval from the FDA and with the increasing demand for this technology, it can be assumed that the day is not far away when you will receive Oura Rings as an engagement ring rather than the traditional one.