(Image credit: Garmin)
Garmin has applied to patent a new way for smartwatches to measure blood oxygen saturation levels, or SpO2. Published on May 12, the patent was originally filed in 2020, which could imply that the technology might soon be on the fashion.
Nearly wrist-mounted pulse oximeters currently used past
(as well equally by rivals such as the
Fitbit Charge 5
) employ a combination of red and infrared low-cal projected onto your wrist from the back of the smartwatch. This can judge the percentage of oxygenated blood in your body, and indicate if your SpO2 levels are normal.
On Garmin’southward current
(opens in new tab)
page, it says: “If you think most your claret as a train and oxygen as the passengers on that train, a pulse oximeter is telling you how crowded the train is compared to maximum capacity. When every seat in the train has a passenger sitting in it, and so the train is operating at 100% capacity.”
All the same, the
, first picked up by outdoors website
, differs from current methods of testing by adding a 3rd LED into the mix, this 1 also emitting red light at a different wavelength in order to get a tertiary reading. By comparing this third reading to the commencement two, the watch will be “computing a second estimated in-claret per centum of oxygenated hemoglobin based on a comparing between the second and third digital values”, in order to ensure the measurement is more accurate.
Pulse oximeters are useful in several different ways. If your blood is fully oxygenated, it’southward an indicator that y’all’ve recovered well later on a tough workout. If yous’re recording lower levels of blood oxygen saturation overnight, it’s an indicator that y’all may have slumber apnea. If you’re preparation at loftier altitudes, a low SpO2 reading might be an indicator to slow downwards – ideal for more adventurous Garmin users.
Assay: Potential medical uses
While the patent was published merely recently, given that it was filed in 2020 it’s an interesting time for it to resurface, with the inflow of several new Garmin devices rumored to exist imminent.
Will the slew of watches expected to exist announced in June contain these more accurate Pulse Ox readings? In the medical field, this sort of reading isn’t normally taken from your wrist, just the finger, every bit you lot’re able to get a more accurate reading that style. Making the wrist-mounted pulse oximeters more accurate is a skilful style for Garmin to add to its toolbox for future devices, and perhaps even for medical applications.
As well every bit for training purposes and for those with sleep apnea, sufferers of asthma, congenital heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease too occasionally need to monitor their SpO2 levels. Currently, this is done in medical settings using specialist pulse oximeter devices designed to be applied to the finger, but studies like this one from
Tel Aviv Academy
(opens in new tab)
suggest that wrist-mounted pulse ox sensors are a great way for patients to monitor themselves for long periods of time.
At present, Garmin states that its devices are “non intended for medical purposes”. But as sensor arrays and technology advances, smartwatches could be just what the doctor ordered.
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