This ambitious smart ring hopes to one day monitor chronic disease

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The Oura ring is no longer the only smart ring in the neighborhood. For CES 2022, health tech company Movano is announcing the Movano Ring, a wearable device that aims to help people inexpensively monitor chronic disease and better understand their data.

The Movano ring will measure all basic measurements including heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep, breathing, temperature, blood oxygen levels, steps and calories burned. However, instead of a raw data dump, Movano says it will distill how your metrics relate to each other “take a more proactive approach to mitigate chronic disease risks.” For example, the Movano app can tell you the impact of your exercise habits on your sleep patterns or HRV over time.

It’s no surprise – more and more wearable apparel makers are moving away from steps and calories in favor of streamlined scores and ideas. Oura Ring, Whoop, and Fitbit all use scores to contextualize sleep and recovery data, but primarily focus on telling you whether you need to push yourself or relax on a given day. They also come with graphics and lengthy descriptions which can be overwhelming at times. Movano says he wants his ideas to be more actionable. So far the app screenshots that Movano has shown The edge doesn’t show anything revolutionary, but the way the data is presented is more digestible than many trackers.

Many portable devices offer similar data, but the way it’s presented here is much easier to digest.
Image: Movano

There are a few other things that help the Movano Ring stand out. For starters, the device itself isn’t hideous and is incredibly thin. The emphasis on a sleeker design was a deliberate choice, says Movano CEO Dr John Mastrototaro, as the device was designed specifically for women of all ages. This is remarkable in two ways. First, wearable technology has historically favored traditionally masculine styles and sizes. Smart rings like the Oura Ring and the old Motiv Ring also tend to be bigger. This is mainly because it is difficult to miniaturize the sensors with current technology, but a side effect is that they are less suitable for small hands. A truly slim and stylish smart ring would be a first. Second, only a handful of ready-to-wear companies take a women-centered approach. Some have tried to fix the problem, but there is still a huge gender gap in the medical data. (Fun fact: It wasn’t until 1993 that Congress asked women and minorities to be included in clinical trials.)

But most importantly, while most ready-to-wear companies avoid questions about FDA approval, Movano is outspoken about its medical ambitions. According to Mastrototaro, while the first Movano Ring will not have FDA clearances, the goal is to eventually achieve Class II designation and add medical features such as non-invasive blood glucose monitoring and blood pressure without a cuff in a “step by step” manner. time. To do this, the company is conducting clinical trials for its RF-based technology and algorithms, as well as precision studies to gain FDA clearance for monitoring heart rate, SpO2 and heart rate. respiratory. Non-invasive blood sugar monitoring and cuffless blood pressure is the holy grail of wearable technology – and big names including Apple and Fitbit have reportedly been working on these features for smartwatches. Getting them on a smart ring would be an impressive achievement.

Three Movano copper rings stacked on top of each other

It’s miraculously not bulky – a big win for smart rings if it ever hits the market.
Image: Movano

That said, consumer wearable devices with promising medical features often find themselves in regulatory limbo. The Withings ScanWatch debuted at CES in January 2020, but it wasn’t until November 2021 that it got the FDA clearance needed to enter the U.S. market. Its Move ECG smartwatch was announced even earlier but still hasn’t received clearance. Omron’s HeartGuide blood pressure smartwatch also took several years to disappear. This often means that companies end up choosing between making consumer wellness devices that lack medical credibility or niche medical devices inaccessible to the average person. However, Mastrototaro says Movano has a secret trump card: decades of regulatory experience.

“We take the regulatory side of things very seriously,” said Mastrototaro The edge. He also highlighted its long history in the development of medical devices, including the first continuous glucose monitor, as well as that of its staff. This experience, says Mastrototaro, gives Movano an advantage in navigating the notoriously opaque FDA clearance process.

The Movano Ring won’t be available until the second half of 2022, and even then it will be a beta. We don’t have any concrete pricing details either, although Mastrototaro says the company is aiming for it to be “one of the most affordable” on the market.

“We are aiming for both a medical and a consumer approach, the intersection of these two areas as opposed to one or the other. We want to have the look, feel and affordability of a consumer device with the precision and reliability of a medical device, ”says Mastrototaro. What Mastrototaro describes is the holy grail of wearable technology. We’ll have to see if the Movano Ring ends up being another CES chimera, but it’s certainly one of the more ambitious versions of the smart rings we’ve seen in a long time.


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