A New Ring to Fitness Tracking

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Fitness trackers have exploded in popularity over the past few years. As our society’s collective obsession with fitness and health grows, so too does our technological ability to keep track of exactly what we’re doing. Your average fitness tracker may look like a plain wristband, but you’ll find similar technology waiting to be utilized in smartphones and watches.

As demand for these wearable health companions has increased, the market has become more and more nuanced. There are now fitness tracking shoes, socks, shirts, and just about everything in between. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have even developed e-skin, a protective film designed to attach to your skin and track your sweat, heart rate, body temperature, and presumably make you look like some sort of humanoid-robot in the process.

One body part fitness trackers haven’t yet slid their way onto is the finger—until now, that is. Developed by an international team of engineers based in Sweden, BioRing is the first tracker designed for digits. It’s a compact device, measuring barely more than 3.5 millimeters thick, but has the ability to track everything from heart rate to distance and steps walked, water levels, sleep levels, and even calorie intake.

Using a bio-impedance sensor, the BioRing measures calorie intake by monitoring changes in water and glucose levels in your body. It also utilizes an optical heart rate monitor and a three axis accelerometer to measure body movements. The battery is designed to last seven days, and the ring itself comes with a USB-compatible charging station. You can find BioRing’s information on a phone application, but it’s designed to work even when your phone isn’t nearby, and saves data for up to a week so long as it’s charged.

As for wearability, the ring consists of no interior metals. It’s made entirely of ceramic material, which is designed to feel more natural on the skin—not to mention BioRing is scratch and waterproof.

If this sounds like it’s too good to be true, that’s because it is… at least for now. BioRing still has about a week left on its Indiegogo campaign, but the team has raised nearly 300 percent more than its initial $50,000 goal. They estimate their first rings will be available in November, and have created a number of preorder packages to get eager customers on the bandwagon before the official launch.

There’s still a long way to go with this product, and despite what sound like overwhelmingly positive attributes, there’s a good chance BioRing will experience its fair share of technical difficulties. All kinds of reports have been published chronicling the inconsistencies of established fitness trackers–let alone one that hasn’t proven itself on the market.

That said, a fitness tracking ring ranks right up there in terms of ingenuity, and the fact that it could help you look like a professional athlete doesn’t hurt either (even if Andy Dalton isn’t your idea of cool). It will be interesting to see how this innovative technology performs when it appears on users’ hands later this year.

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