The 13th edition Indian Premier League is set to begin on September 19 in a bio-secure bubble in the United Arab Emirates as India’s star cricketers return to action for the first time since the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Played away from India due to the rising coronavirus cases, there are a number of safety measures and Standard Operating Procedures in place to ensure the tournament goes ahead smoothly. As sports has slowly resumed all over the world, there are certain tools being used to monitor the health situation such as face masks and screening.
One such instrument is the Oura smart ring, which is said to be used inside the IPL bubble to check the vitals of the players. This includes temperature and oxygen saturation checks, which are believed to be key indicators of Covid-19. A similar ring system has been used by the NBA in USA since the tournament resumed inside a bio-secure bubble in Orlando. The rings cost $300 per unit.
“The Oura Ring is a health wearable that measures body temperature directly from your skin rather than estimating it from your external environment. Temperature is a vital component of accurate sleep analysis, athletic performance, and the ability to uncover potential signs of illness,” Harpreet Singh Rai, CEO of Oura, told Scroll.in.
Here’s an explainer about these smart rings:
What’s the main purpose of the Oura ring?
The Oura Smart Ring and its accompanying app is being used by the sporting fraternity because it measures one’s heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and temperature and various other readings. It works like an oximeter helping to read the symptoms of the coronavirus and helps reduce the spread of the virus.
Briefly, how does the ring work?
The Oura Smart Ring monitors the above metrics and crafts a “Risk Score,” which can be tracked through the app. Oura’s Readiness metric looks at both sleep and activity rate over a two-week baseline period. It probably feels a bit bulkier than your average piece of jewellery, but one gets used to it in due course according to the makers.
The ring’s methodology
Rather than the wrist, Oura measures from the arteries within fingers according to their website. The ring form factor also minimizes movement—sealing signals off from outside light without having to tighten a strap. It uses infrared light photoplethysmography, which reaches deeper than the green light LEDs found in most other wearables.
What’s the NBA connection?
Within a month of the league stopping in March, representatives from the NBA reached out to the company. Together, in cooperation with the National Basketball Players Association, they figured out a way to optimize the device for potential use in the Orlando bio bubble. The company additionally worked with top sports agents and agencies in developing its framework so that potential participants would feel secure using the product. About 25% of players, coaches, and staff have been using the ring on a daily basis in the NBA’s bubble.
Commercially available since 2016, NBA players including Kevin Love and players and strength and conditioning coaches from several other teams have used Oura rings to help optimise players’ sleep and overall wellness as well. Former players from San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili and LA Lakers Shaquille O’Neal are investors.
The Oura app has been awarded the Red Dot Award Communication Design 2018 and was the 2016 Best of Innovation Award Honoree as well.