How Does the Oura Ring Work?

Wearable health tracking devices are exploding in popularity. Developments in consumer technology have provided easy and affordable access to personal wellness metrics, and millions are taking the opportunity to optimize their routines. Smart bands and other wrist monitors are perhaps the most common way for people to track everything from their step count to their heart rate, but other options are on the rise. Turns out, you can get your personalized health stats without the watch tan.

Curious? Read on to learn more.  

Introducing the Oura Ring

The Oura ring is a small titanium health tracking device designed to be worn on your finger so it can monitor and analyze your sleep, among other features. Priced at $299, it is on the more expensive end of the pricing spectrum for such devices, and it is famously worn by high-status individuals like Jack Dorsey and Prince Harry. The ring pairs with a smartphone app so users can see their personalized, precise biodata at any time and make changes to their habits accordingly.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Oura ring was touted for its ability to detect COVID-19 in wearers before they began to show symptoms. The ring’s temperature monitoring proved effective in illness detection in a University of California, San Francisco study where it spotted pre-symptomatic signs of fever in 76% of COVID cases. In response, the NBA bought thousands of Oura rings for the players as part of its comeback program. Even NASCAR was on board, buying rings for drivers and staff.

The growing popularity of wearable health devices and celebrity endorsements certainly contributed to the Oura’s immediate success, but plenty of people are still wondering: How does the Oura ring work, and how is it different from other health trackers? Let’s dive in.  

Getting Started with the Oura Ring

Before getting your very own Oura ring, the company will send a sizing kit with a range of dummy rings and ask you to wear the most well-fitting one for 24 hours. Your fingers swell in your sleep and while working out, so a full day and night of testing can help you determine which size is best. The real deal will arrive after you send the sizing kit back, and then you’ll spend two weeks wearing it so it can establish your baseline biodata. You’ll also connect the ring with the Oura app, where you’ll view your biodata and other resources.

How Does the Oura Ring Work?

The Oura ring is equipped with two infrared light photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors, two negative thermal coefficient body temperature sensors, a 3D accelerometer, and a gyroscope. What does all that mean? In short, the ring continuously measures your pulse—from the arteries in your fingers, rather than from the capillaries in your wrist—and your skin temperature. The PPG sensors can also reach deeper than the green light LEDs found in other wearable health devices. As a result, you get more accurate measurements that provide granular insights into your body’s status at any given time.

Oura simplifies your personalized biodata into three scores: Readiness, Sleep, and Activity. Your Readiness score predicts your physical, mental, and emotional capacity for performance. Your Sleep score offers insights into your sleep quality, and the app provides advice for better sleep and bedtime guidance. And you Activity score takes inactivity periods, daily goals, and

movement tracking into account so you can optimize your physical activity to rest ratio.

It prioritizes nighttime measurements because daytime measurements are more likely to be influenced by external factors, such as work stress and lifestyle fluctuations. During the day, Oura tracks activity levels, caloric intake, steps, and rest periods like naps. But take a look at what Oura measures at night:

  • Resting heart rate
  • Heart rate variability
  • Body temperature & variations
  • Sleep stages (Awake, Light, Deep, REM)
  • Sleep timing, duration, and quality
  • Movement during sleep

All of this biodata is transmitted and recorded in the Oura ring companion app, where information is neatly presented as deviations from the norm rather than as a cacophony of numbers. You won’t be able to swipe through your stats on the device itself, but users find the lightweight and unobtrusive design to be a fair tradeoff. Plus, everything is personalized to your own unique baseline, and the sensors are incredibly accurate.  

Together, all the metrics Oura tracks present a holistic view of your well being so you can understand your body’s signals and make adjustments for better health. Additionally, Oura has integrations with other popular wellness platforms so you can import your biodata and keep track of it all in one place.

Connect Your Oura Ring with ModoBio

What if all your biodata from your wearable health devices and all your apps was in one place, where you could connect with other health and wellness professionals to make the most of your biodata to improve personal well being? ModoBio connects with personal fitness, nutrition, health and wellness devices that you love and use daily to help users leverage the benefits of the biodata provided by these devices to improve personal health and wellness. Learn more.