This has been an important week for Google in its technologically wearable ambitions. Following the news that the tech giant spent $ 40 million to buy Fossil's smartwatch, Alphabet announced that Verily Study Watch has received limited Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization for its on-demand ECG feature.
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First we wrote about Study Watch in 2016. It was just a rumor at the time, until Verily Life Sciences (a division of Google's parent company, Alphabet) officially launched the device in April 2017. The watch is designed for medical research and has been used in a variety of clinical studies since. The ultimate goal is to be able to identify patterns that may reveal early warning signs, more accurately diagnose the disease, or point to more effective treatment.
The Study Watch has an ever-visible electronic paper display, which allows a full week between charges. As expected, it features an accelerometer and gyroscope for motion detection and an optical heart rate sensor on the back. These are the same sensors that you will find on any fitness or smartwatch tracker that is prized today.
The ECG, which measures the electrical activity of the heart, is the largest increase over a normal wearable technology device. At its launch there were no other smartwatches with ECG functionality. That changed, however, with the introduction of Apple Watch 4 Series last year. A more affordable option will be launched later this year by Withings.
One area of focus for the Verily Study Watch is cardiovascular health. The newly acquired FDA seal of approval means researchers can have more confidence in the watch's single-channel ECG data. The watch has now been classified as a Class II medical device for its on demand ECG feature.
Specifically, the FDA Approved Study Surveillance is a prescription-only device designed to record, store, transfer, and display single-channel ECG rhythms and is intended for use by healthcare professionals, adult patients with known or suspected heart disease, and individuals health conscious. .
This means that you can not buy Study Watch at your local computer and electronics store. It is something that is given to participants in Verily's medical studies. Google did not imply that it will release a commercial version of the gadget. But, the company may well use the technology for its Pixel Watch, which we expect to happen in the near future.
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