September 30, 2022

Indian fitness platform, Ultrahuman, is expanding its wearable portfolio by launching a smart ring to boost its ability to provide tech-loving ‘bio hackers’ – and hopefully, health-conscious Boomers – with more metabolic insights.

Sensors included in the upcoming Ultrahuman Ring include temperature, heart rate and motion monitors, which enable the device to track a wearer’s sleep quality, stress levels and activity intensity, according to CEO and co-founder Mohit Kuma.

The device is designed to work in tandem with the startup’s Cyborg-branded Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) wearable sensor-based service, to deepen the quality of insights for users — such as identifying when a poor glucose response might be associated with a night’s sleep Bad, for example, or high stress levels, rather than focusing on everything the user ate before the blood sugar spiked.

The Ultrahuman Ring itself isn’t a CGM but could function as a standalone health tracker, according to Kumar — giving the fitness startup an opportunity to expand the appeal of its metabolic tracking service since the smart ring slips on the finger rather than, as with CGM. , which requires spring-loaded sutures to be released at the top of the user’s arm (and left in place, and “worn” under the skin).

The clean, chunky look of the circular strap (which comes in a shiny metallic titanium or black finish) is also more likely to appeal to fashion-conscious consumers than rocking the ‘cyborg’ arm patch.

The price of the Ultrahuman Ring is up for pre-order today, and shipping is set to begin in August.

At the time of writing, the price has not been confirmed but the startup told us there will be two options: one (premium) price that covers lifetime use; And another (monthly) subscription option with a relatively small lock-up period, after which the user will be free to take off on demand.

One loop to finish guessing?

“The idea is to help you understand more about the additional factors in your metabolism,” says Kumar, discussing the smart episode featured in the Zoom call with TechCrunch. “Right now with a glucose monitor you already understand the result of how glucose metabolism works but there are many other factors that affect glucose levels – factors like stress, sleep and activity. Those are the adults.”

“Today, a lot of that is actually guesswork,” he continues. “But with our own wearables — and access to the raw data for the wearable — we really now have the ability to understand the main factor that led to the poor glucose response. For example, if you’re under-recovering due to, let’s say , lack of sleep and glucose levels rising, the platform can now clearly detect the contributing factor. Likewise due to lack of activity.”

Many factors can affect how the body metabolizes glucose, while large swings in blood sugar can be associated with health problems such as diabetes and heart disease – creating an incentive for consumers to make lifestyle changes aimed at stabilizing their glucose response, Like raising their activity level. Choose a healthy diet and get enough sleep.

Ultrahuman’s metabolic fitness tracking service primarily sells real-time feedback to help individuals learn what’s going on with their biology. But when we tested its beta product last year, we highlighted the relative challenge for the average user to intelligently interpret their glucose change data — and relate it to specific lifestyle factors — versus taking an overly simplified reading of the data.

The Smart Ring appears to aim to narrow this interpretation gap by enabling the Ultrahuman platform to track and triangulate a variety of biomarkers to provide the user with a stronger reading beyond glucose peaks and troughs. (Or: “If a lack of activity results in elevated baseline levels of glucose, the platform will be able to decode it in a more efficient way”, Kumar puts it.)

Ultrahuman will take on a number of more established players in the smart ring space – usually also with a strong focus on health/fitness tracking. However, she argues, her signature development here is that it’s “metabolism-enhancing” — and it also has glucose tracking data to back this up (thanks to early adopters of the CGM-based wearable cyborg).

“Different platforms improve different things. Oura, for example, is optimized for sleep. Whoop provides for recovery. Here we are optimizing metabolism” Kumaradding that the way Ultrahuman captures data (using “more real-time” sensors) is a distinct technical element in differentiating it from competing smart ring makers.

He also suggests that “the way we create data indices, frequency of data indices, type of scales, real-time temperature, etc., is more metabolically optimized than other wearables.”

“For us, temperature is a much more important biomarker as we look at metabolic rate and glucose metabolism. So that was one of the reasons why we designed our own wearables – so that we control the accuracy of ideas and also the ability to elicit some of these ideas that we haven’t Not possible with the wearables category.”

According to Kumar, the Ultrahuman Ring measures stress by looking at factors such as heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and temperature — performing its own algorithmic analysis of the data to determine each user’s stress response.

for activity, He says he aims to determine “activity intensity” – by looking at the input from Accelerometers, as well as temperature and heart rate – to try to understand ‘what zone of activity you were in’.

The sleep tracking component also pulls data from activity, temperature and heart rate sensors – to identify the different sleep stages (rapid eye movement, deep sleep, etc.).

While the sensors are loaded, the Ultrahuman Ring isn’t currently configured to provide direct hardware-level feedback (such as vibrations) – but Kumar points out that haptic alerts and/or smart alarms are something you’ll want to add in the future.

Image credits: Ultrahuman

Two Wearable Devices for Insights

Ultrahuman settled on the smart ring as its form factor choice for this second wearable, rather than – say – the smart bracelet, for several reasons. First, it avoids the risk of having to compete with wrist-mounted wearables (such as the Apple Watch) for space for the user’s person. But Kumar also says His testing showed that the circular shape factor yielded the lowest variance in the data among all the shapes it tested for measures such as temperature, an important consideration for accuracy.

The team also found that the chance of wearing the ring was better continuously and continuously than other types of wearable devices. (The Ultrahuman Ring can survive getting wet in the shower or pool, he confirms, with up to five days of battery life before it needs to be charged.) “The more data a user has about themselves, the more powerful the ideas,” he adds.

If the ring user is simultaneously wearing an Ultrahuman CGM as well, the insights captured by the ring’s sensors will be directly linked to real-time glucose levels (which the Cyborg sensor measures via changes in the interstitial fluid under the skin of their arm) – enabling actionable connections to be made Between glucose fluctuations and lifestyle events that may be triggers (high stress, poor sleep, low activity levels, etc.).

“Where our strength will be in terms of marrying things like glucose volatility and the effect on your sleep is going to be,” he predicts. “Or, for example, if you eat a late meal and your glucose rises late — what effect does that have on your sleep?

“For some people, that’s totally fine – they can have a late rise in glucose and will actually be pretty much in [target sleep] region. But for many people, it actually affects their REM sleep [badly]. And in some cases it affects their deep sleep as well.”

Thus, the Ultrahuman Smart Ring plus Cyborg CGM can support diet-related interventions for users who cannot avoid a late meal but whose metabolic tracking has indicated that glucose spikes negatively affect their sleep quality – by suggesting, for example, choose certain foods Which are associated with better sleep (eg tryptophan-rich foods) when they have to eat a late meal.

He suggests: “These are the visions we’ll actually have very unique.”

The product will also handle movement and activity recommendations in a way that is distinct from competing products, says Kumar.

“Movement isn’t just about burning more calories – it’s also about frontal lobe development, it’s also about longevity. Movement is an activity that helps people reduce cortisol levels while increasing cortisol levels at the same time. [high calorie] expenses. So a lot of our focus will be around movement – if you look at it from an activity tracking perspective.”

Ultrahuman Smart Ring user who hasn’t taken advantage of the upper arm CGM sensor, yet can still get some general benefitsAccording to Kumar. BHe asserts that the greatest benefit comes from combining the two wearable devices. “People will be able to understand the quality of their sleep, people will be able to understand their recovery levels from stress, movement and so on. But if they want to understand the impact of all these factors on their glucose metabolism, they have to release it through continuous glucose monitoring. So it works both ways, as he says.

The loop could also bridge service gaps that inevitably affect the Cyborg sensor – thus expanding the usefulness of the CGM tracking service – by continuing to provide a former Cyborg sensor user with personalized feedback after their sensor expires. (The CGMs on the arm typically last up to two weeks before they are replaced – which means that Cyborg service is interrupted unless a new sensor is applied – while the Ultrahuman Ring is designed to last longer and will not ‘auto-expire’ in same way.)

“[If you just have the ring] The platform will understand, based on what kind of metabolic rate you have, your carbohydrate processing capabilities, and how much you should walk, for example, after a meal,” explains Kumar. This is possible because we now understand what kind of activity levels led to reduced productivity. Over time – we don’t actually need your CGM data either, in many scenarios, to derive that output.”

Bringing biohacking to Boomers?

Since the ring form factor is clearly more accessible versus the arm-mounted (semi-invasive) CGM, Ultrahuman anticipates greater adoption of the smart ring compared to the Cyborg tracker.

He says there are currently 25,000 people in India on the waiting list for Cyborg – which is still in a managed beta phase – but expects at least 100,000 people to buy in the smart ring over the next year.

Ultrahuman will sell the smart ring globally – while the availability of the Cyborg sensor remains limited to India and the UAE, due to regulatory considerations and also its decision to focus on markets with high rates of metabolic disturbances for the product it is targeting – so the pool of potential buyers is larger.

At the same time, Kumar says the team hopes that the Smart Ring will be able to serve as a broader marketing tool to sell the CGM-backed service.

The typical profile of current cyborg users is an individual between the ages of 30-40 with a passion for fitness (and/or data analysis), and an interest in preventative health. But with the Smart Ring expected to gain wider appeal, Ultrahuman is now setting its sights on persuading older Baby Boomer consumers to try out its Metabolic Health Service – a much larger population group (approximately 25 million to 30 million globally). ) suggested by Kumar has adopted a wearable sanitary t so far. But perhaps the bright “shine” could be just the alert they needed…

“Maybe they have embraced a wearable like the Apple Watch because it’s not just a wearable for health – it also does a bunch of things – but they haven’t delved into deep health or biohacking wearable yet. That’s what our target audience will be in the future – But the first audience will be biohackers, people who love data about their health,” he adds.

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