NBA Will Use 'Smart Rings' in Orlando to Monitor Coronavirus

When the NBA finishes its regular season and begins the playoffs in its Disney World bubble next month, the players will be outfitted with several devices which will track all sorts of data to monitor the potential risk of contracting coronavirus.

New York Post — All players and essential staff members will be given the option to wear a diagnostic ring designed by Finland-based tech company, Oura, that resembles a plain wedding band. The ring, which retails for between $299 to $399, contains sensors that track vital statistics like heart rate, respiration rate and body temperature. The data collected from the ring is fed into an algorithm that the venture capital-backed company boasts can predict the onset of coronavirus symptoms up to three days in advance with over 90-percent accuracy (study conducted by Oura Health in conjunction with West Virginia Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute).

The ring’s data will be analyzed by the University of Michigan to create an illness risk index. Participants will have access to their own data, which will not become visible unless that player or staff member’s illness probability score breaches a certain level.

While I would have called this Orwellian six months ago, I suppose it's no more so than anything else which has gone on in the time since. And given the inherent risk in herding all these people together, it's probably smart for everybody in Orlando to wear these rings and monitor everything.

But the NBA's tracking won't just stop at heart rate and body temperature. The league also plans to require the use of Disney's MagicBands — a wristwatch-like device which admits guests into the parks and acts as a hotel room key and credit card — to track locations of employees to serve as additional contact tracing. While it sounds like the rings are optional, the New York Post reports players will be required to wear the MagicBands at all times while not playing.

Employees will also be forced to wear "proximity alarms" on their credentials, which will sound if two people are within six feet of each other for more than five seconds.

The proximity alarms will be used to “help promote adherence to social distancing rules,” which all staff will be required to wear on their credentials. The alarm will sound when two people are within six feet of each other for longer than five seconds. Certain acceptable pairs will be excluded, and will not be a requirement for players.

Residents will not be allowed to opt out of daily health monitoring and “will be prohibited from engaging in group activities until the monitoring is accomplished and/or may be required to leave the campus permanently.”

It sounds like Disney World might not be the Happiest Place on Earth for some NBA employees this summer, but I guess it's a necessary evil when dealing with everything that playing basketball entails right now.

At least they can blow off some steam with some ping pong — singles only.