NBA's Disney Plan Includes Wearable Tech 'Smart Rings' to Monitor Players' Health
Basketball fans, rejoice. The NBA is coming back. And for those who grew up wishing they could live at Disney World in addition to playing professional basketball, get jealous.
Once the NBA starts back up next month, players will be living in what people are calling the league’s “bubble,” i.e. a very cushy quarantine where they’ll have access to just about every amenity they could ever want while they’re not playing and practicing.
Aside from the perks of Disney life, the league is using a lot of wearable tech to constantly keep up with the ever-present risk of COVID-19. This will include a wearable ring that tracks temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and other vital data that could indicate illness. According to Axios, the rings also show an “illness probability score.”
The ring was made by Oura. Here’s a brief description via Neowin:
The suggestion takes a cue from a study released earlier this month that suggested that the rings, by combining physiological data and data procured via in-app surveys, can predict the onset of COVID-19 three days in advance with 90 percent accuracy. In principle, the rings work similarly to any fitness tracker. They track heart rate and respiration rate, among other variables, and assign "an illness probability score" that prompts for an in-depth medical review, the Senior Writer at ESPN Zach Lowe tweeted.
These would be optional to use, but it shows just how far wearable tech has come. This isn’t some bulky device that hinders movement or even the comfort of everyday life. It’s just a ring. That’s it.
With the players also living in Disney resorts, you have to think they will receive a whole host of branded (possibly even co-branded with their team logos) items. This would cover your usual hotel amenities like slippers, robes, etc. But with the rule stating that players and staff must wear face masks while indoors (except for eating or in their own room), there could be custom face masks, too.
For the rest of us who don’t get to live our dreams of professional sports and living in the happiest place on Earth, this still is an exciting development in the world of wearable tech. Especially now as we find ourselves in a world where contact tracing and monitoring illness developments is so crucial, having something as minimal as a ring is huge. (Well, not literally. But you know what we’re saying).