Wearable wonderland: how tech is tackling Covid-19

28 October 2020


From symptom signalling and social distancing, to contact tracing and controlling face-touching, wearable devices are being harnessed in all sorts of novel fashions to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Chloe Kent rounds up the best and brightest.
For many life sciences companies, Covid-19 has provided a perverse boost for business. Despite a worldwide recession, companies that manufacture products like ventilators and other breathing support devices have found that the pandemic has triggered a huge increase in the demand for their product.

The same is true for wearable device manufacturers. Wearables were already on the up before the pandemic began, but research by GlobalData estimates that the market is now on track to increase from being worth nearly $27bn (£21bn) in 2019 to a whopping $64bn by 2024.

This is due to a surge in the number of people using wearable devices to monitor themselves for Covid-19 symptoms or, in some jurisdictions, to implement contact tracing and social distancing. Medical Technology takes a closer look at some of the most compelling projects emerging from this space.

Oura: a smart ring to detect early Covid-19 symptoms

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), are using the Oura smart ring to test whether tracking data such as body temperature, heart rate and respiration may enable people to detect the early onset of Covid-19, before they notice they’re unwell.

The data collected by the Oura wearable will be combined with responses to daily symptom surveys, to build an algorithm that can help UCSF identify patterns of Covid-19 onset, progression and recovery. The research team are studying a group of more than 2,000 frontline healthcare workers as well as members of the general population.

Doctors, nurses and other clinical staff who are in daily contact with sick patients who may have Covid-19 at UCSF campuses will receive Oura rings. The study is also open to all Oura ring users, who can likewise contribute to the data pool.

The Oura ring has a number of different sensors, including infrared LEDs, an accelerometer, gyroscope and three temperature sensors, which it can use to track various vital signs.

Published by medicaldevice-network.com on October 8, 2020

Image by Shutterstock


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