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Fitbit smartwatchesmay soon monitor your blood pressure

Many small-time brands have attempted smartwatches with blood pressure trackers but have failed in the accuracy department.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | April 8, 2021 | Updated 16:05 IST

Highlights

  • Fitbit s said to introduce a new sensor that would monitor the blood pressure of users.
  • Fitbit announced in its blog that its research arm, Fitbit Labs is launching a study to look at how Fitbit devices measure blood pressure.
  • The test will be rolled out to users in the United States, who are above the age of 20.

Fitbit is known for producing some of the best wearables. The company has over the years introduced many fitness tracking sensors that have always provided accurate readings. Now, the company is said to introduce a new sensor that would monitor the blood pressure of users. Many small-time brands have attempted smartwatches with blood pressure trackers but have failed in the accuracy department.

Fitbit announced in its blog that its research arm, Fitbit Labs is launching a study to look at how Fitbit devices can potentially measure a person's blood pressure. "Starting this month, Fitbit Labs is launching a study to look at how Fitbit devices can potentially measure something called Pulse Arrival Time (PAT), which is the time it takes for a pulse of blood to reach your wrist after your heartbeats, and explore the potential link to tracking blood pressure.
While the ability to easily measure and monitor blood pressure in a wearable, the non-cuff application has been of great interest, it has been rather elusive to date, and the ability to capture blood pressure readings in a non-cuff wrist-wearable has not yet been achieved," the company said in a blog.

A blood pressure monitoring sensor is one of the most important sensors that a smartwatch needs, especially a smartwatch that costs a bomb. Not everyone has a blood pressure cuff at home so in order to get the correct readings, people tend to go to the hospitals. However, if a smartwatch gets the ability to accurately monitor the blood pressure and alert the users about drastic changes, there can be nothing like it.

Shelten Yuen, Principal Scientist at Fitbit, who is leading the project has called it a hard scientific challenge. "If high blood pressure was easier to measure, people could manage it earlier, which might help avoid preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke. It's a hard scientific challenge, and a lot of work remains to be done to understand the best way to do this, but we have a history of advancing technology to make previously inaccessible health metrics available to Fitbit users from their wrist, so it's a challenge we're very passionate about solving," he said.

Fitbit is involving users in its month-long study about the impending feature. The test will be rolled out to users in the United States, who are above the age of 20. The company will start sending notifications to eligible users, urging them to participate in the research program. The company stated it is particularly important for all Fitbit Sense users across all demographics to sign up.

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