Sleep and activity monitors have a lot of advantages, but aesthetics often isn't one of them. Many look like exactly what they are and even ones that are incorporated discretely in watches aren't very popular with people who don't want to wear watches in bed. Billed as the "world’s first wellness ring," the Ōura ring takes a sleep and activity monitor and hides it inside a piece of finger jewelry that makes the technology unobtrusive and unself-conscious.

The Ōura ring was developed by Finnish industrial designer Harri Koskinen and Ōura co-founder and CTO Kari Kivelä, and is based on three decades of R&D by Finnish wellness technology companies. Its purpose is to monitor sleep balance, activity, relaxation, and recovery using a stand-alone computer that performs functions previously requiring separate devices.

The Ōura ring itself is made of a zirconium ceramic that the company says is waterproof and harder than steel, yet comfortable to wear. It incorporates a laboratory-level sleep monitor, activity tracker, and heart rate monitor, as well as medical-grade pulse-oximeters to measure blood-volume pulse. It has an internal battery that charges in 30 to 60 minutes and runs about three days. The ring's presentation box also acts as a charger.

The Ōura ring communicates with an Android or iOS app, however it does not require the presence of a smartphone to operate. Instead, the ring has a memory buffer and downloads to the phone when it's nearby. The app provides day and night readouts of heart rate, brain activity and body temperature, as well as advice on how to improve sleep and performance.

"We wanted to create a product so effortless and comfortable that people would wear it 24/7," says Petteri Lahtela, Ōura CEO. "The unique combination of form factor, latest high-end technology and deep understanding of human physiology applied with groundbreaking algorithms makes Ōura the only product capable of interpreting your body responses in different situations. Ōura can help you understand how your body reacts to your lifestyle and behavior. By combining your subjective feedback of how you feel with physiological and behavior data measured by the ring, it provides you with actionable insights that help in increasing your readiness to perform at your best, and balance your life."

The Ōura ring will be available for US$250 in US sizes 6 to 13, and a choice of white, gloss black, and matte black. Preorders begin at the end of July or beginning of August with delivery scheduled for October.

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