I’ve always been careful about featuring crowdfunded projects. Success stories like Misfit Wearables, Basis Intel, Mio Global, Lumo Lift and subsequently Skulpt Aim are the stars of crowdfunding while the list of those that didn’t make it goes on and on. It takes a careful eye to identify the diamond in the raw from the duds; a skill which I’ve yet to master unfortunately. While water bottles that track your hydration patterns and rings that buzz when there’s incoming calls are noteworthy efforts, it’s just not groundbreaking enough to cause that excitement and have you go “Wow, gotta fund that!” I did chance upon a Oura Ring Kickstarter project recently that got me sitting up and combing through every morsel of information I could get my hands on. Perhaps this might be the next star. Just perhaps.
The Oura Ring is a ring based tracker that measure sleep, heart and respiration rate over time, movements and skin temperature. My skepticism meter was going off the charts at this point till I read that the Oura team included the ex Principal Scientist in Physiology of Polar Electro, Hannu Kinnunen, the person behind most algorithms used in Polar products today. Take my money already.
The concept behind Oura is sound. Put a wearable on the most convenient location of the body so that it doesn’t disrupt daily activities, collect data. The 3 days battery life, scratch resistant ceramic ring coupled with water resistance to 5ATM also means the ring is robust enough for most activities you can throw at it.
Oura claims the ring monitors sleep, activity and readiness with laboratory like accuracy. It appears the simple looking device is able to identify light, deep, REM sleep and periods of wakefulness. Combine that with activity and readiness readings based on optical pulse waveform, you’ll get a more holistic picture of your physical well being. Again I’m curious how accurate this finger worn device will be since it claims to read heart rate variability as well.
The press images of the mobile app looks decent and chockful of information. I’m not too keen on the aesthetics of the ring and personally thought it might be a tad big for daily wear. On the other hand, the Oura Ring has succeeded in not looking like a wearable tracker. Currently there’s only glossy black or white. A higher contribution on their Kickstarter campaign will net you an Oura ring with your name laser engraved or a Steath Black edition if you have the moolah to spare.
With about 28 days left, the campaign has already hit nearly 3 times its original goal of $100,000. If you fund it now, you can still get it at a $70 off retail price of $299. You’ll also receive a We are Curious membership depending on your level of funding towards the campaign.
The Oura Ring is manufactured in Finland and the company is ready to ship by November 2015; a mighty feat for crowdfunded projects with a timeline to delivery of only 3 months.
You can read more about OURA’s campaign here.