Among safety measures the U.S. National Basketball Association plans to offer players when the league attempts to resume play next month is a "smart ring," which its makers claim can detect COVID-19 symptoms before they appear.
The technology behind the ring was developed by the University of West Virginia's Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and is being marketed by a company named Oura Health.
Researchers at RNI say the platform they developed tracks a variety of health indicators — including body temperature, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, respiratory rate, and sleep and activity patterns — which are monitored through a ring worn on a person's finger.
Researchers say their testing shows the ring can predict the onset of COVID-19-related symptoms – including fever, coughing and breathing issues – up to three days in advance, with 90 percent accuracy. However, their results have not yet been published in a professional journal or peer reviewed.
Without scientific verification, doctors told the CNN there is not enough data to know how well the ring works. Emergency room physician and University of Tennessee Assistant Professor Dr. Darria Long told CNN that NBA players and others who wear the rings should not abandon masks or other safety precautions simply because their rings tell them they are OK.
The Oura rings retail for about $299 to $399. Research is also being conducted regarding the possible uses for other wearable devices, such as Fitbits or Apple watches, in monitoring health in an effort to ward off the coronavirus.