Wearables – both smartwatch and fitness trackers – are becoming primary devices for tracking vitals like heart rate and blood pressure. The companies behind smartwatches including Apple, Fitbit and Samsung see adding a blood pressure sensor as the next big achievement.
While Apple is rumored to be working on a glucose tracker and blood pressure monitor for next Apple Watch, Omron has showcased the first smartwatch with ability to measure blood pressure at CES 2018. Omron, the Japanese company behind medical-grade blood pressure monitors, has a fitness watch dubbed HeartGuide that promises to measure blood pressure level.
According to CNET, the HeartGuide has an extra-stiff band that actually inflates to take an oscillometric measurement like a normal doctor would do with a sphygmomanometer. The watch manually takes readings with the press of a button but can also be programmed to take readings at night while sleeping. The data syncs with Omron’s app and can be directly shared with a doctor.
Apart from blood pressure, the HeartGuide by Omron also tracks steps and sleep and can also show notifications like incoming calls and text messages. The watch is not an app-based smartwatch like Apple Watch but is designed to appeal among fitness-conscious smartwatch users. The watch can reportedly last between ten days and two weeks on a single charge.
Omron has also announced partnership with AliveCor to put EKG heart rate measurements on a stand-alone monitor and plans to bring that tech to a its watch. Omron says its goal is to combine EKG and blood pressure on the watch. AliveCor recently announced a FDA-certified EKG band called KardiaBand compatible with Apple Watch.
Omron plans to combine blood pressure and EKG measurement into its watch which should allow it to track more vitals than smartwatch available in the market. It has also confirmed that the device will be submitted to the FDA approval later this year. The target price is $349, which puts it in the same league as that of Apple Watch, which does not measure blood pressure as of now.