According to a newly registered patent, Fitbit is expanding from its conventional Wrist wearable to a Fitbit smart ring, the first of its kind from the brand. The patent, originally filed in December 2020, details the document of ‘a ring optically measuring biometric data-specifically blood oxygen saturation (Spo2).’
Smart rings are relatively less explored paths for the top range of smartwatch brands. The competition is within the small startups, with Oura in the lead. Fitbit, a successful hardware startup, was founded by James Park and Eric Friedman in 2007 with an innovative thought of using sensors in small wearable devices. It took almost two years to launch their first, despite many hurdles. It was a clip-on wireless device that enabled to track movements like sleep, calories burnt, or step count of the person who wears it.
Here’s what the patent says:
The 19-page filing describes a ring-like or a stack of rings wearable device which clips onto your finger, toe, or earlobe and detects various health information using the light source and photodetector. This works by light passing into your blood vessels through your skin and again to the photodetector on the outside. Oxygen levels in your blood can be observed by the light-transmitting differently by oxygenated and deoxygenated red blood cells, respectively.
Reflecting more red light than infrared light denotes richly oxygenated blood, and more infrared light than red light indicates poorly oxygenated blood. This can not be more reliable with the wrist wearables, as they just sit on the top of the skin and use light reflectors. The data collected from the photodetector can be sent to the app on your mobile phone through Bluetooth or NFC, the patent suggests. This is like a typical clinical pulse oximeter. The patent also details power-saving methods to extend battery life.
Is the Fitbit Smart Ring worth the wait?
We’re not sure of how true this can be but soon wearables are becoming less and less popular as time passes and a company must adapt to the upcoming changes to survive in the market. The uncertainty here is about companies filing many patents but not coming up with a real product every time. But if this product releases in the market, this would give a tough competition to Oura, which measures heart rate and its variability, respiration, and body temperature at night. But it seems to be more useful as it works even during the daytime, while Oura is limited to nighttime activities.
Since filing its patent for a smart ring, it is trying to make a health-tracking apart from its range of wrist wearables. Let’s wait and watch for any further updates about the Smart Ring in the future.