Image source: Polar

Polar & Oura’s potential power play in the smart ring space

Some exciting sensor research is going on in Oulu, Finland. Interestingly, that’s the home of industry powerhouses Oura and Polar. Let’s break down what’s going on and the cool possibility of these two teaming up.

Wearable technology has transformed the way we track our health. From basic fitness bands to sophisticated smartwatches, the market is overflowing with devices offering ever-expanding functionality. Yet, two critical health markers—blood pressure and blood glucose—have remained elusive. Sure, there are some solutions. But they are far from ideal.

However, innovation centred around a small city in Finland could change everything. It offers the tantalising promise of finger-based monitoring for these types of metrics.

Oura’s on a mission

Oura’s not new to the smart ring scene. In fact, it is one of the pioneers in this space. Now, they’re pushing the envelope with the PhotonWear project.

The research is taking place in Oulu, Finland. The city boasts a unique ecosystem comprised of the University of Oulu, with its 20-year history in bio-photonics research, as well as – you guessed it – Polar Electro.

The PhotonWear project centres on technology that promises to elevate optical measurements to unprecedented precision. The aim is to create a sensor capable of measuring blood glucose and blood pressure directly from the finger, a feat that would make invasive testing largely obsolete. This breakthrough has the potential to transform the lives of millions living with diabetes and hypertension.

Due to conclude at the end of October 2025, the study is testing out wearable sensors that are based on photonics. This sounds to us very similar to the tech that is being developed by Rockley Photonics. It is focused on high-fidelity multispectral measurement that meet clinical requirements. These types of sensors have the potential to measure much more than what is currently possible, non-invasively and in real-time.

This project is also about tackling other issues, like making sure these gadgets work well for everyone regardless of skin tone. Optical sensors used in SpO2 measurements have been plagued by racial bias, with studies revealing higher error rates for individuals with darker skin tones. The FDA is actively investigating these discrepancies.

Polar steps up its game

Polar’s been around the block a few times when it comes to fitness gadgets. They’re the go-to for many when it comes to tracking runs, heart rates, and more. But now, they’re peeking over the fence, exploring new gadgets that could include a smart ring. Yes, you heard that right.

In a recent interview, Polar CEO Sander Werring discussed the integration of sensor technology into everyday accessories – smart rings included. He even hinted that this device might possibly bear the ‘Powered by Polar’ badge. Which means it could be a collaboration with another company.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

In fact, Polar has been broadening its horizons through strategic partnerships. A recent example is its linkup with Sennheiser, and sticking health sensors into earbuds.

Could Polar and Oura be teaming up?

The buzz around Polar possibly crafting a smart ring and Oura’s deep dive into next-gen sensors has us asking: are these two about to join forces? It certainly sounds plausible. On social media Polar has acknowledged Oura’s PhotonWear project.

A coincidence? Perhaps – but then again, perhaps not.

Polar smart ring hint

Both companies share a home turf in Finland. Though currently just speculation, a collaboration between Polar and Oura seems like a natural and powerful fit. Combining Oura’s cutting-edge sensor breakthroughs with Polar’s expertise in wearable tech could deliver a formidable smart ring.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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