Your smartwatch may be useful in yet another way: early virus detection.
Researchers at Stanford University, California, and elsewhere are studying whether the Fitbit, Apple Watch and other wearable exercise devices can spot potential COVID-19 infections before symptoms appear.
The novel coronavirus can be spread by an infected person even before symptoms show up. Early symptoms can include fever, cough and lost sense of smell. But because these devices can constantly measure heart and respiratory rates, research groups speculated that they could be used as an early warning system for the coronavirus.
In the Stanford study, among 5000 participants who used smartwatch devices, 31 tested positive for COVID-19. The smart devices detected infection in all 31 before symptoms appeared, in an average of 3 days.
Said Professor Michael Snyder of Stanford University School of Medicine:
“We can tell when someone’s getting ill before symptoms…. You can tell people to stay at home. Don’t go out, infect other people.”
Fitbit is also researching how its devices can help with early detection of virus infection. And the manufacturers of fitness wristband Whoop and fitness finger ring Oura (from Oura Health) are studying early COVID-19 warning signs in professional athletes. Results in these devices have prompted the PGA tour to buy 1,000 Whoops for golfers and associated caddies and media and the National Baseball League to buy 2,000 Ouras for players and staff members.
As sales of other tech gadgets have slowed, tech manufacturers have been pushing sales of smartwatches and similar devices. The drawback? With an Apple product as the top industry seller and Google agreeing to buy Fitbit last year for $2.1 billion, the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google stocks) are biting even harder into the American public. Monopolies, here we come.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.