Researchers at Stanford University have launched a study to determine whether smartwatches like the Apple Watch or a Fitbit can detect COVID-19 and other illnesses.
The study aims to find out if the different features in the smartwatches, such as respiration rate detectors and ECG monitors, can be used to predict illnesses.
“We are trying to find out if information from wearable devices, like Fitbit and Apple Watch, can be used to track infectious diseases like COVID-19. We hope to be able to predict the onset even before any symptoms start,” the dedicated page for the study reads.
The study will collect different pieces of information about participants, such as their heart rate, skin temperature and blood oxygen saturation.
Once enough users have submitted their data for the study, the researchers are going to create a personal dashboard that would aim to tell people if they’re getting sick. They note that since there are tens of millions smartwatch users, this study could have promising results.
Despite the many obstacles present in this study, such as the fact that smartwatches are not medically approved devices, phase one of it is expected to be completed in the next few weeks as the researchers say they are working around the clock.
It’s important to note that if the study leads to promising results, it would take quite some time to implement COVID-19 predictor features in the watches due to regulation and clearance requirements around the world.
Regardless, it’s still an interesting and important study that could help with future illnesses or influence future features.