Tech support: Smart rings and airbag gowns help fight COVID-19

Researchers at University of California are holding study to find if the ring can detect the disease

The ring tracks the body temperature, heartbeat and respiratory rate of a person throughout the day. Photo: Twitter

A user of a smart ring recently found his score drop below 50, which was not normal. The same night, he caught a mild fever and went for a check-up, in which he tested positive for COVID-19. The person continued to remain asymptomatic. This has prompted doctors at the University of California to study if the ring could detect the disease, even before one experienced symptoms.

The smart ring is developed by Finnish health-tech startup Oura, which has come forward to sponsor the study and provide 2,000 rings to healthcare staff at the varsity, The Indian Express reported. The ring tracks the body temperature, heartbeat and respiratory rate of a person throughout the day. So, it can track the changes in these and help in early detection of COVID-19, says Harpreet Singh Rai, CEO of the company.

So far, around 150,000 smart rings have been sold. From Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Prince Harry, many celebrities have seen wearing the ring, which costs $300. The company says the smart ring can also check the heart rate variability and measure the full pulse waveform in a person’s body with Infrared LEDs attached to it. It also has features like temperature sensor and accelerometer.


Hospital gowns from airbag material

American automaker Ford has joined hands with Joyson Safety Systems, a company that manufactures automotive safety components, to manufacture reusable hospital gowns from a fabric that is used in airbags. By the end of this week, Ford has planned to produce around 100,000 gowns, Hindustan Times reported.

Beaumont Health, the largest healthcare organisation in the US’ Michigan, helped the automotive company in designing the gowns. So far, Ford has delivered around 5,000 gowns to the hospitals run by Beaumont. According to Joyson, these gowns can be washed up to 50 times. Ford has also been manufacturing test collection kits and face masks, along with an air-purifying respirator.