When Apple announced the Apple Watch late last year, one of the possible applications for the wearable was as not just a fitness device, but as a health device as well. Being able to monitor a wearer’s heart rate can be very useful indeed, and that’s just the start because when you begin adding accessories into the mix, things really get interesting.
Enter AliveCor’s Apple Watch ECG, a device that features a dual-electrode electrocardiogram ECG monitor built directly into a wrist band that looks very much like Apple’s Sport Bands. The wearable takes care of all of the monitoring just like AliveCor’s existing iPhone accessory, but this one will talk directly to an Apple Watch via a native watchOS 2 app, which allows for some improved features such as voice annotations in conjunction with recording heart activity. Heart rate data points along with said annotations are uploaded to the cloud and available for diagnosis by a physician.
Rather than connecting to the Apple Watch via Bluetooth as you might expect, the AliveCor Apple Watch ECG will talk to Apple’s wearable via ultrasonic technology with the signal picked up by the Apple Watch’s microphone. We thought that the Apple Watch’s hidden diagnostic port may come into play here, but AliveCor will continue to use the same technology that it currently leverages for its existing iPhone accessory. That’s probably the smarter move, especially with nobody really knowing what Apple would do if a popular accessory used said port. It also means that less power will be required when compared to the more traditional Bluetooth connectivity.
AliveCor Apple Watch ECG recording voice annotation (right) and heartbeat (left)
Expected to be released next year assuming it receives all the relevant approvals from the like of the FDA, the Apple Watch ECG should cost around $200 – a small price to pay if keeping tabs on your heart is something you need to do.
Watch the video below for a demo of the of the accessory.
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