Google's recent breakthrough promises to reinvent how wearable technology, such as the Fitbit, measures human health data. Patent number US20230329569A1 focuses on a method which improves the reliability of heart rate and blood oxygen readings on wearable gadgets, leading Google a step further in the wearable tech race.
The issue at heart lies in the inaccurate measures common in wearable trackers, such as incorrect heart rate estimations caused by "motion artifacts". These arise from the normal movement of users, say swinging of the arm, affecting the device's readings. These distortions can be significantly larger than those related to heart rates and lead to false readings - a problem that clearly needs addressing as wearable technologies become increasingly ubiquitous in monitoring our health.
This problem is tackled ingeniously by Google. Their patent suggests that two wearable gadgets could collaborate to generate more accurate readings. An interaction happens between two wearable gadgets, each generating its own heart rate or blood oxygen reading. Their individual readings are then shared and a specific averaging method is applied to derive a more accurate measure. This upgraded system also reduces the chance of false positives, like incorrectly suspected atrial fibrillation, improving the reliability of wearable health monitoring significantly.
In a world where this issue is solved, imagine wearing two Fitbit devices, say one on each wrist, or one on your wrist and the other as an earbud. The two trackers read your heart rate and oxygen levels, share their data, process it with the new method for increased accuracy, and send the calculated health data back to your device. You wouldn't have to worry about omissions or inaccuracies in your health data caused by your movements. In fact, users would experience fewer false health alerts, thus saving unnecessary anxiety and medical costs.
What's more, the smart notification system part of this patent would handily inform you about your heart rate, oxygen levels and other health parameters. This reliability upgrade could bring a fair change in health monitoring at home, allowing us to manage our activities better based on accurate and dependable health data.
Even beyond individual uses, the possible applications in sport, fitness and wellness industries are enormous. Coaches could monitor athletes' heart rates more accurately during training or competitions. Individuals on health or wellness programs could receive accurate data, helping them follow their plans just so. The maternity sector could also see promising uses in tracking the health of expectant mothers.
Before we get too excited, let's remember that this is a patent - an approved plan, but not yet a product in our hands. Whether it'll see the light of the day in the consumer market, time will tell.
In a nutshell, Google's newly patented technology might just make our Fitbit devices, and other wearables, a lot more 'fit' to track our health. Stay tuned as we track the progress on this story.
P.S.: We would like to remind the readers that although patents represent planned technological advancements, there is no guarantee that all patented technology will appear in the market. The actual product development can take its own course, and so, this pioneer idea still awaits its actual realization.