Bring­ing mean­ing to wear­ables: Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 4

Ap­ple WAtch Se­rieS 4 can per­form ecGs, mon­i­tor heart rates, de­tect falls and con­tact emer­Gency ser­vices if re­quired.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Sin­gal

Ap­ple’s an­nual launch day came and went on Septem­ber 12 and the Cu­per­tino com­pany rit­u­ally un­veiled big­ger and speed­ier phones – iPhone XS, XS Max and a slightly toned down and less ex­pen­sive iPhone XR. But it was the juiced-up Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 4 that stole the show. Even those who com­plained about the in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ment of iPhones could not help ap­plaud­ing the vastly im­proved Se­ries 4 as it has crossed the do­main of fit­ness wear­ables and leapfrogged into the holis­tic realm of health mon­i­tor­ing.

The fourth gen­er­a­tion Ap­ple Watch is sleeker than its pre­de­ces­sor, has a larger dis­play (40 mm and 44 mm cases), and packs a whole bunch of heart health fea­tures, in­clud­ing its abil­ity to per­form an elec­tro­car­dio­gram (ECG) and de­tect atrial fib­ril­la­tion or Afib, a heart rhythm dis­or­der

that can be fa­tal. How­ever, both fea­tures will be avail­able on the de­vice later this year (not at launch). Add to that an ac­celerom­e­ter and gy­ro­scope, which can de­tect hard falls and prompt no­ti­fi­ca­tion, ease of use and dou­ble the speed due to its new S4 chip, and you get to ex­pe­ri­ence the kind of in­no­va­tion for which Ap­ple has been lauded all these years.

in­stant ecg: Since their de­but in 2015, Ap­ple watches had op­ti­cal heart rate sen­sors that cal­cu­lated the calo­ries burnt dur­ing work­outs but later on started mon­i­tor­ing rest­ing and high heart rates. It worked well and we of­ten heard how these smart­watches alerted users about dan­ger­ously high heart rates and helped save their lives. But with the new Se­ries 4, Ap­ple is tak­ing things to the next level.

The new wear­able will be ca­pa­ble of get­ting an ECG done, sim­i­lar to a med­i­cal-grade sin­gle-lead elec­tro­car­dio­gram. All you have to do is turn on the ECG app and hold your fin­ger on the Dig­i­tal Crown, and in 30 sec­onds, the record­ing will be com­pleted. Our heart­beats send out elec­tri­cal im­pulses and the ti­ta­nium elec­trode in the Dig­i­tal Crown can read them in the fin­ger­tip while the back crys­tal has an ul­tra-thin chromium-sil­i­con­car­bon-ni­tride layer that reads the elec­tri­cal im­pulses in the wrist. With the help of the ECG app, these two will read and record the data, and no­tify users about their heart rhythms. More­over, all ECG record­ings, their clas­si­fi­ca­tions and any note re­gard­ing the symp­toms will be stored in the app as PDF files, which can be eas­ily shared. Ap­ple says the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has cleared the ECG fea­ture and the ir- reg­u­lar heart­beat no­ti­fi­ca­tion func­tion, and the former has got a “de novo” clas­si­fi­ca­tion. In­ci­den­tally, the Ap­ple Watch is in Class II, a typ­i­cally lower-risk prod­uct for which FDA only gives “clear­ance” and not “ap­proval”.

Lower heart rate no­ti­fi­ca­tion: Much like higher heart rates, lower heart rates could also be dan­ger­ous. The op­ti­cal sen­sor will be able to de­tect it if the heart rate falls be­low a spec­i­fied thresh­old for 10 min­utes when the user ap­pears to be in­ac­tive, and trig­ger a ‘low heart rate’ no­ti­fi­ca­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple, it can be a symp­tom of brady­car­dia, or ab­nor­mally slow heart func­tion, which can be se­ri­ous if the heart is not pump­ing enough oxy­gen-rich blood.

Fall de­tec­tion: A fall de­tec­tion sys­tem that iden­ti­fies the mishap and no­ti­fies emer­gency con­tacts is not a new con­cept per se. But its in­te­gra­tion with the Se­ries 4 makes these smart­watches health-fo­cussed wear­ables. Ap­ple has added a new ac­celerom­e­ter and gy­ro­scope that can dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween a trip, slip and fall. When an in­ci­dent oc­curs, the new watches can de­tect a hard fall and send an alert to ini­ti­ate an emer­gency call. If one con­tin­ues to be un­re­spon­sive af­ter 60 sec­onds, an emer­gency call will be placed au­to­mat­i­cally and the lo­ca­tion will be shared with the emer­gency con­tacts. Fo­cus on well-be­ing: Se­ries 4 watches also help users stay fit, as per the orig­i­nal doc­trine of the wear­ables. So, one will find an au­to­matic work­out de­tec­tion that sends an alert to start a work­out and gives retroac­tive credit. Be­sides track­ing var­i­ous in­door and out­door forms of work­out, the Ap­ple Watch can also mon­i­tor the ac­tual calo­ries burned and the ex­er­cise min­utes earned dur­ing yoga and hik­ing. And fi­nally, there is also the Breathe app that will guide you through a se­ries of deep breaths.

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