Penn researchers develop ‘OmniRing’ for healthcare

Unlike smartwatches, the Omniring does not have a display and so can support a longer battery life

A team of researchers, led by Indian origin academician and researcher Mahanth Gowda of the Penn State School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science developed a smart ring for health care and extended reality. Named OmniRing the device is  a smart sensing ring which encompasses virtual, augmented and mixed reality in health care.

According to the research team, the ring uses both inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors, which can capture the location, speed and rotation of the fingers, and photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors, which utilize infrared light to measure volumetric changes in blood circulation. The IMU sensors are used to detect and track finger motion, and the PPG sensors are used to collect and analyze health metrics such as heart rate, glucose levels and oxygen saturation, the team added.

Wormley Family Early Career assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Gowda shared that the sensor data offers rich information on  stress and mood of the wearer and recommends meditation and relaxation activities. “We are currently exploring deeper applications at the intersection of sensing, machine learning, and Edge Internet of Things to extend the capabilities of what can be achieved in the conveniently small size of a ring,” he added.

Unlike smartwatches, the Omniring does not have a display and so can support a longer battery life. This makes it possible to wear the ring all the time, including while sleeping and swimming, enabling the ring to capture deeper and more intimate levels of sensing information.

In addition to healthcare and extended reality, the ring can potentially enable sign language recognition and translation by integrating with other sensors, said the researchers.

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