When the NBA restarts its season next month, it may pipe in crowd noise from the NBA 2K video game to help simulate fans in the arena. Another proposal is to have players use Oura’s smart rings to predict the onset of COVID-19 related symptoms. Engadget reports: According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the specifics were laid out in an informational memo dubbed “Life inside the Bubble,” that described testing plans, quarantine protocols and more. The part that’s specifically interesting to us — other than players only lounges with NBA 2K and bracelets that beep if people are within six feet of each other for too long — is its proposed use of Oura’s smart rings. Earlier this month, study results from West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute suggested that physiological data from the rings, combined in its digital platform with information obtained from wearers via in-app surveys, can “forecast and predict the onset of COVID-19 related symptoms” three days in advance, with 90 percent accuracy.
According to The Athletic, use of the rings will be optional, and there’s no word on what other data will be used to track possible symptoms. ESPN reporter Zach Lowe tweeted that if players wear the rings, team personnel will not have access unless it detects an “illness probability score” that triggers a medical review. The player’s union hasn’t announced it’s fully on board with the restart just yet but plans appear to be in motion, and it’s possible that if you’re watching games played in mostly-empty arenas with video game crowd noise, some of the NBA players spectating will have very familiar-looking jewelry on.