Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Apple watchOS 7 adds a host of health and fitness features

Apple's next watchOS adds several new health and fitness features:

  • sleep tracking
  • automatically detect handwashing motions and sounds
  • workout app adds: Core Training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown
  • hearing health with headphone audio notifications
  • while biking, cycling directions are available right on the wrist
  • New Mobility Metrics available in the Health app include: low-range cardio fitness, walking speed, stair-descent speed, stair-ascent speed, six-minute walk distance, double support time, step length, and asymmetry

watchOS 7 will run on:

Apple Watch Series 3
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple Watch Series 5

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Pulse Ox on Garmin wearables

A growing number of Garmin wearables wrist-based pulse oximetry, an estimation of the user’s peripheral blood oxygen saturation (SpO2%).

Examples of Garmin devices include: Fenix 6, Forerunner 945, Venu, vivoactive 4/4S, Approach S62, MARQ series, vívomove 3, vívomove Luxe, vívosmart 4, and others.

Devices use a combination of red and infrared lights with sensors on the back of the device to measure the percentage of oxygenated blood. 

Garmin notes that these are not medical devices and are not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

New Garmin Forerunner watches: 45, 245, and 945

Garmin just announced new Forerunner GPS running smartwatches.

Forerunner 45 and 45S
Forerunner 245 and 245 Music
Forerunner 945


Engineered for runners, by runners, each new Forerunner features lightweight materials and an intuitive 5-button design that is easy to operate with or without gloves, and in any weather condition. The watches include an always-on, sunlight-readable display with GPS, all-day activity tracking, smart notifications, wrist-based heart rate, and new safety and tracking features that allow users to share their real-time location with chosen contacts in case they need help.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The link between heart rate variability and diabetes

Reposted from

A very interesting study seems to suggest that continuous heart data could identify patients who have diabetes. You can read more about this story on Wired:
... at the annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in New Orleans, digital health-tracking startup Cardiogram presented research suggesting the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor and step counter can make a good guess at whether or not a person has diabetes—when paired with the right machine-learning algorithms, of course.
In 2013, researchers at UCSF launched the Health eHeart study and registered close to 200,000 participants. About 40,000 opted to link their health information with their Cardiogram app. The DeepHeart neural network was trained to spot patterns and trends linked to human disease. Using semi-supervised sequence learning (artificial intelligence), the machine interpreted patterns of heart rate variability and was able to identify patients with diabetes 85% of the time.

I find myself wondering if some of this may be related to certain pharmacologic agents such as beta blockers...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Fitness trackers maturing to replace watches

It seems that every year, we see a exponential increase in the number of people wearing fitness trackers. Most of them are using their wearables as watches. Fitness trackers have finally matured to the point of replacing watches. Occasionally, I may still see someone who wears a watch and a separate fitness tracker. 

By far, the most popular device today is the Apple Watch. This trendy device has also reached a level of functionality that leads people to wear it continuously. I don't mean they necessarily sleep with it (since the battery life on the Apple Watch is still fairly limited). Apple Watch users don't abandon their devices after a few weeks or months. 

Many Fitbit and Garmin users wear their devices continuously and sleep with them. The longer battery life allows them to track their sleep, wake up to a gentle wrist vibrating alert, and jump right into the shower without taking the tracker off their wrist. By tracking sleep, you can also see what your heart rate does at night. 

While activity trackers were originally designed to motivate people to exercise, they can also provide useful sleep insights that can help people get better rest and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. 

The next evolution of activity trackers will include better battery life, more water resistance, and greater style options.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Misfit Vapor Android Wear

Misfit has launched its first Android Wear smartwatch and it's called the Vapor. Unlike most Android Wear smartwatches, the Vapor is swimproof + water resistant up to 50m. That's a critical feature for swimmers who want to wear their devices in the water. The Vapor lacks a built-in GPS, which means that you need to stay connected with your phone for GPS functionality and tracking. The Virtual Touch Bezel provides seamless scrolling and navigating.

It's always interesting to see different manufacturers leverage their expertise and creativity to build functional watches running Android Wear. New Balance and Polar have devices on the market. Now, Misfit has joined in with the Vapor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Growing body of research around wearables

Where and when did the term "wearables" originate? The oldest search result in PubMed for the search term "wearables" yields the following:

Market research on garment-based "wearables" and biophysical monitoring and a new monitoring method.
Schultze C, Burr S.
Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;108:111-7. Review.

Then, we started seeing a spike in publication activity about 3-4 years ago:

Patient-centered activity monitoring in the self-management of chronic health conditions.
Chiauzzi E, Rodarte C, DasMahapatra P.
BMC Med. 2015 Apr 9;13:77. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0319-2.

A transdisciplinary approach to wearables, big data and quality of life.
Sungmee Park, Jayaraman S.
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2014;2014:4155-8. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2014.6944539.

Clinical researchers and health services researchers are eager to see how wearables will truly impact population health, disease prevention, diagnosis, and disease management. While short-term studies show several key areas of progress, the biggest opportunities are at the population level. As more people embrace wearables into their daily routines, will we see an overall improvement in public health?