Smartwatches so far, including the Apple Watch Series 4 are advanced enough to measure heart rate along with ECG and atrial fibrillation. Omron Healthcare, however, has come up with the world’s first blood pressure smartwatch, called Omron HeartGuide.
Omron’s blood pressure smartwatch – how it works?
Omron first showcased this special watch at the CES this year, but now, it has FDA clearance for it. This blood pressure smartwatch is available for preorder with shipment starting from Jan. 8. The battery backup is expected to be around 48 hours, and a single charge can give between 30 and 50 blood pressure readings, the company claims.
“Designed to fit your lifestyle, HeartGuide is first FDA cleared, clinically accurate, wearable blood pressure monitor available in the U.S. With HeartGuide, taking your blood pressure is now as easy as raising your wrist to your chest,” the company says in a promo video.
The watch costs $499. Though it is expensive when compared to other blood pressure monitors, the watch offers much more features than other machines. The Omron HeartGuide comes with several fitness features, like sleep and activity tracking, step-counting and phone notifications as well. Moreover, it also measures the heart rate.
The Omron HeartGuide actually uses an inflating wrist-cuff to take your blood pressure. The technique used is called oscillometry, it’s the same tech that is used by standard blood pressure machines. Omron’s blood pressure smartwatch features a band that doubles as a blood pressure cuff. The cuff inflates when the buttons on the side of the watch are pressed.
To take the reading all you need to do is press the button and hold your hand over your heart. The cuff will then inflate and deflate on its own. Thereafter, you will see the blood pressure reading on the screen. If the reading is normal, it will be in a green circle, if it is not in the acceptable range, the circle turns red.
An app to help you manage your data
The data from the watch automatically syncs with an accompanying app, which will also be released soon. Also, users can manage the app to save their blood pressure, heart rate and sleep history. The free-to-download app will also offer users with personalized health tips.
Talking of the durability of its small blood pressure system, the company says the wristband is supposedly five times stronger than steel. Such robustness allows the band to inflate without breaking. Highlighting the expertise of its R&D team to come up with a miniature version of comparatively bigger blood pressure machines, Omron notes that some of the valves and pumps inside the watch are no bigger than a grain of rice. Omron touts that it filed over 80 patents related to the bands and other components used to make the blood pressure smartwatch.
Going forward, Omron wants the gadget to tell users that their blood pressure is higher on days when they smoke more cigarettes or when they have an argument with a spouse. But, for such a functionality, it would need a lot of data from the users.
Omron HeartGuide – a game changer
The Omron HeartGuide has received 510k FDA clearance, meaning it is as accurate as other available blood pressure testing devices. Further, the watch had to go through two years of testing and case studies, notes a report from Gizmodo. And, this is what makes it a better option than other health wearables, including the Series 4 watch.
Apple’s Series 4 is not suggested for users already diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Instead, its objective is to alert that you may have Afib. The Omron’s blood pressure smartwatch, on the other hand, can help people who are already diagnosed with high blood pressure. Given the tendency of blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day, this watch from Omron could prove a game changer.
Omron’s blood pressure smartwatch will certainly heat up the growing market of health monitoring wearables. Currently, Apple Watch Series 4 with features like ECG and atrial fibrillation is seen as the best wrist-worn health device.
This first wrist-worn personal device for blood pressure monitoring could prove an extremely useful health wearable. It would not only help with heart data collection but would support blood pressure management among the users. According to the CDC, there are more than 40 million people in the U.S. whose blood pressure is uncontrolled, and as per the American Heart Association, about 103 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
Omron also has more heart monitoring devices in the works, including a blood pressure monitor and ECG combo device. For this consumer product, Omron partnered with mobile ECG company AliveCor.