Google might one day take on Oura and deliver a fitness ring to consumers. According to Wareable, Fitbit has officially applied for a patent on a smart ring that would track the user’s blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and blood pressure levels using clinical-grade sensor technology.
Traditional wearable devices use reflected light to measure the user’s blood oxygen. But Fitbit’s ring would work like a clinical pulse oximeter, passing light through the skin to a photodetector.
As stated in the patent, the smart ring would transfer the data it collects to your phone or Fitbit wearable via Bluetooth or NFC. The ring could contain a motion tracker, which instead of counting steps, would make sure that the wearer isn’t moving around, Fitbit said. For accurate results, it is necessary for the user to stay in one place while taking blood pressure readings.
“The motion sensor can be used to remove noise from the data caused by motion,” the patent reads, while adding that it can also include “power saving measures to extend the battery life”.
On April 7, Fitbit on a blog post reported about a study to look at how Fitbit devices can potentially measure something called Pulse Arrival Time (PAT), which is the time it takes for a pulse of blood to reach your wrist after your heart beats, and explore the potential link to tracking blood pressure.
While the ability to easily measure and monitor blood pressure in a wearable, non-cuff application has been of great interest, it has been rather elusive to date, and the ability to capture blood pressure readings in a non-cuff wrist-wearable has not yet been achieved, Fitbit said.
Oura is a $300 smart ring that measures sleep, steps, heart rate and body temperature deviation. NBA recently bolstered its health credentials by buying 2,000 Oura rings for its players and staff to keep track of metrics in the fight against Covid-19.