According to a recent file that was made public by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Fitbit may be considering expanding its product offerings beyond wrist trackers.
On December 16th, 2020, the first application for the patent that is now known by the publication number US 2021/1069345 (via TechRadar) was submitted. On the other hand, the publication didn’t occur until quite recently.
The market for intelligent rings is still mostly unexplored. For the time being, Apple, Garmin, and Samsung, three of the biggest names in wearable technology, have all decided against participating. Consequently, there is a need in the market which has been filled by a number of relatively new businesses.
When it comes to improving one’s health and fitness, the Oura ring is among the most effective options available. However, there isn’t much in the way of serious rivalry for it. This might soon change if Fitbit makes the decision to enter this market.
A patent held by Fitbit for a smart ring
The ring-like wearable device that can detect biometrics using a light source and a photodetector is described in the patent as having both of those components. The ring would be able to detect a variety of facts about one’s health.
The patent application makes particular mention of a SpO2 and a motion sensor, but it does not exclude the use of any other types of technology. This might thus comprise, in addition to blood oxygen levels, activity levels, sleep quality, heart rate, and heart rate variability. It is a little-known truth that fingers contain arteries that are simple to detect, and these arteries may be utilized to obtain accurate data on the critical signals being sent by your body.
The document, which is 19 pages long, contains many references to blood oxygen monitoring. and the fact that wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches tend to have a lower level of accuracy when it comes to such metrics. The difficulty is that these devices do not rest flush against the skin, which is necessary for accurate measurements of the blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2).
One additional issue is that these types of gadgets rely on reflected light. This method is not nearly as precise as one that involves shining a light through a person’s skin and blood vessels while a photodetector takes readings at the same time. This is normally the reading that you will obtain from clinical pulse oximeters. A photodetector on the opposite side of the Fitbit smart ring would function in a manner similar to that of medical devices, detecting the amount of light that is sent through the user’s finger.
Additionally, “power-conserving techniques to increase battery life” are included in the patent. You don’t want to be charging for anything like that every other day, that’s for sure.
What are the chances that Fitbit will release a smart ring?
It is challenging to determine whether or not Fitbit will release an intelligent ring in the future. It would absolutely make perfect sense. Because wearables and sensors are continuing to shrink in size year after year, a firm that wants to remain relevant must integrate new technologies. Having said that, businesses often submit patent applications without following through with a corresponding real-world product.
However, this is not the first patent of this kind that the San Francisco company has submitted. A few months back, we published an article in which we discussed a notion extremely similar to that of Fitbit. That one included information on a gadget that could produce light with a red wavelength of 660 nm and an infrared wavelength of 940 nm. Algorithms included in the software would determine the difference in light absorption and use that information to compute blood oxygen levels and the likelihood of sleep apnea.
All of these things point to the fact that Fitbit is giving serious consideration to developing a health monitoring ring. Up to this point, the whole thing can be done from the wrist. The one major exception to this rule is products like the Inspire brand of vaping devices that can be clipped onto clothing. With Google’s resources and experience behind it, this may be the ideal time to diversify into other areas; for example, monitoring your health and fitness from the tips of your fingers could become the next big thing.