WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
Apple COO Jeff Williams described the brand new sensor and a few of its performance throughout the presentation.
“With Apple Watch Sequence 6, you may measure your blood oxygen proper out of your wrist,” he mentioned. “The brand new well being sensor in Sequence 6 shines crimson and infrared mild onto your wrist and measures the quantity of sunshine mirrored again. Superior algorithms use this information to calculate the colour of your blood, which signifies the quantity of oxygen current. The brand new blood oxygen app enables you to take a measurement in simply 15 seconds. The Sequence 6 additionally captures periodic background readings and shops them in your well being app. So should you put on your Apple Watch to mattress, it may document background measurements whilst you sleep.”
Whereas using the brand new sensor in analysis research suggests a level of scientific accuracy, Apple’s VP of Well being Dr. Sumbul Desai described the app as letting customers measure blood oxygen “for health and wellness functions.”
The three analysis research Apple is embarking on embody:
- A examine on controlling bronchial asthma utilizing physiological indicators, in partnership with the College of California, Irvine, and Anthem.
- A examine on how metrics, together with blood oxygen, can be utilized to handle coronary heart failure, in partnership with the College Well being Community and the College of Toronto.
- A examine on how coronary heart fee and blood oxygen can sign an early onset of respiratory situations like flu and COVID-19, with the Seattle Flu Research and the College of Washington College of Drugs.
As for the VO2 Max functionality, it’ll estimate that worth, which is taken into account a robust predictor of total well being (however could be laborious to measure exterior of specialised clinics) utilizing the Watch’s movement sensor and coronary heart fee sensor. Later this yr, a function might be added permitting customers to be notified a couple of drop in VO2 Max.
THE LARGER TREND
This new sensor does spherical out the Apple Watch’s well being monitoring functionality, however it’s removed from groundbreaking. Fitbit added SpO2 greater than two years in the past and Withings added VO2 Max across the identical time and even that put it a yr behind Garmin.
However due to its big attain and multi-function nature of Apple Watch, the corporate can afford to play the function of quick follower with its well being sensors – particularly if the ultimate product finally ends up efficient and simple to make use of.
And there is cause to consider Apple has improved on the system. A press launch on Apple’s web site affords some extra particulars about how the sensor will perform, including that it employs 4 clusters of LEDs “to compensate for pure variations within the pores and skin and enhance accuracy.” This seems to be like a nod to criticisms that got here to mild final yr about gadgets just like the Fitbit not working as properly for individuals with darkish pores and skin.
Apple additionally depends on what it calls “sensor fusion” for lots of its health-sensing options, and from that standpoint a further sensor opens the door for larger bulletins down the road. For instance, when Fitbit added blood oxygenation there was hypothesis the corporate was engaged on sleep apnea detection.
For Apple, that sort of early detection would line up properly with its irregular coronary heart fee and fall-detection options, thus positioning Apple Watch as a helpful on a regular basis gadget that may additionally save your life.
ON THE RECORD
“As you breathe, your coronary heart and lungs work collectively to ship oxygen all through your physique,” Desai mentioned. “Blood oxygen saturation is a sign of how properly the system is functioning and of your total respiratory and cardiac well being, and pulse oximetry is the way you measure it. Now the Blood Oxygen app on Sequence 6 enables you to measure your blood oxygen for health and wellness functions out of your wrist wherever and at any time. It is a nice new device on your total wellbeing.”