Verily, the life sciences arm of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, introduced its health watch in 2017. The wearable was aimed at getting insights into medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of the areas where Alphabet’s health division has focused with its prescription-only smartwatch is cardiovascular health and it has now scored a big win to make its efforts more legitimate. Verily has received FDA clearance for the electrocardiogram (ECG) feature on its study watch. The agency has designated the watch as a Class II medical device.
The health division of Google parent Alphabet says the watch can record and display single-channel ECG rhythms. Engadget notes that doctors may prescribe the device to individuals as part of their clinical care beyond the research trials being carried out by the company. “Receiving this clearance showcases our commitment to the high standards of the FDA for safety and effectiveness and will help us advance the application of Study Watch in various disease areas and future indications,” Verily said in a blog post.
The study watch from Verily is not a consumer device but now that it has received FDA approval, it will only be a matter of time before Google borrows the tech for its own wearable (rumored to be called Pixel Watch) or the Wear OS platform. The ECG approval for Verily study watch comes just days after Google announced that it has bought smartwatch tech for $40 million from Fossil. Google’s Wear OS platform lacks a device that can really challenge the Apple Watch in the smartwatch segment but the two announcements show the company is committed to the cause of wearables.
Watch: Apple Watch Series 4 First Look
Healthcare is seen as the biggest domain for these tech companies with Apple CEO Tim Cook recently announcing that in the future, the company would be seen for its contribution to health tech than other products. Apple Watch Series 4, the wearable from the company with ECG support, is already saving lives in the real world. It seems Alphabet also wants a piece of this space and could launch Pixel Watch with updated interface and support for ECG function.