Smart rings and bracelets: The wearables industry is diversifying

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Smart rings and bracelets: The wearables industry is diversifying

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Smart rings and bracelets: The wearables industry is diversifying

Subheading text
Wearables manufacturers are experimenting with new form factors to make the sector more convenient and versatile.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • November 11, 2022

    Post text

    More people are actively using smart rings and bracelets (wearables) packed with sensors and microprocessors that track their eating, sleeping, and breathing patterns. 

    Smart rings and bracelets context

    The Oura Ring is one of the more successful companies in the smart ring sector, specializing in sleep and wellness tracking. The user must wear the ring daily to accurately measure steps, heart and respiratory rates, and body temperature. The app records these stats and delivers an overall daily score for fitness and sleep.
     
    In 2021, wearable company Fitbit released its smart ring that monitors heart rate and other biometrics. The device’s patent indicates that the smart ring may include SpO2 (oxygen saturation) monitoring and NFC (near-field communication) elements. Including NFC features suggest that the device may incorporate functions like contactless payments (similar to Fitbit Pay). However, this SpO2 monitor is different. The patent discusses a photodetector sensor that uses light transmission to examine blood oxygen levels. 

    Aside from Oura and Fitbit, CNICK’s Telsa smart rings have also stepped into the space. These eco-friendly rings provide users with two main functionalities. It is a smart key for Tesla cars and a contactless payment device for purchasing items across 32 European countries. 

    In contrast, wrist wearables with SpO2 sensors can’t measure as accurately because these devices use reflected light instead. Transmissive detection involves shining a light through your finger onto receptors on the other side, which is how medical-grade sensors function.

    Meanwhile, in the smart bracelet space, sports brands like Nike are releasing their versions of wristbands that can record oxygen saturation and additional vital signs. The LG Smart Activity Tracker also measures health stats and can synchronize through Bluetooth and GPS technology. 

    Disruptive impact

    In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations for specific remote or wearable patient monitoring devices to help increase the availability of monitoring and treatment of patients and to help address the reduction of healthcare provider exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

    Between 2020 and 2021, the Oura Ring was involved in COVID-19 research trials to see if its technology could assist in individual assessment and tracking. Researchers found that using smart rings AI techniques could rapidly predict and diagnose the coronavirus within 24 hours. Many researchers indicated that continuing the use of smart rings and bracelets may further assist in remote patient monitoring.

    Applications of smart rings and bracelets

    Wider applications of smart rings and bracelets may include: 

    • Fashion and style being incorporated into wearables designs, including collaborations with luxury brands for exclusive models.
    • People with visual and mobility impairments increasingly using these smart devices as assistive technology.
    • Devices connected to healthcare providers and systems providing real-time updates on important biometrics, especially for those with chronic or critical illnesses.
    • Smart ring and bracelet wearables being increasingly used in medical research, leading to more partnerships with biotech firms and universities.

    Questions to comment on

    • How might smart rings and bracelets provide data to other sectors or enterprises? E.g., insurance providers or athletic coaches. 
    • What are the other potential benefits or risks of wearables?

    Insight references

    The following popular and institutional links were referenced for this insight:

    Smart Ring News CNICK, Smart Ring product