Fitbit announced today that it is launching a new study that aims to detect COVID-19 symptoms before they even start.
This study is going to help "determine whether Fitbit can help build an algorithm to detect COVID-19 before symptoms start." Which means that this study is in the very early stages, and may not actually be able to do what it hopes it can. So do keep that in mind here.
Wearable data is more useful than smartphone data
In this instance, data from your wearable, whether it be a smartwatch or fitness tracker, is more valuable than your smartphone's data. This is because of all of the sensors on the wearable, as well as the data it has been collecting the entire time you've been wearing it. Which for some of us, has been years.
It's no secret that wearable data has long been thought of and investigated to see whether it can detect early onset of different infections. Like diseases and even the flu. It also helps let others know when you might be having a heart attack, since it is worn 24/7 and detects your heart rate.
Fitbit will ask for the following data in this study
This study will ask if you have, have had or may have had the flu or COVID-19. It will also ask if you are experiencing any symptoms, or have experienced them. And finally, it'll ask about additional related details regarding your medical history and demographics.
Since COVID-19 does have a few high-risk groups, like those that are older, have respiratory issues and much more. That is going to be important information for Fitbit to be able to collect.
You will be able to join this study in the Fitbit app for either Android or iOS. Simply go to the Discover tab and open the Assessments & Reports at the bottom of the page.
There are a few caveats here as always. In order to join this study, you will need to be over the age of 21. You'll also need to be living in the US or Canada. And finally, have or have had COVID-19 or symptoms consistent with the flu. The answers to these questions will help Fitbit develop its algorithm to detect COVID-19 before users start experiencing symptoms.
The study is completely voluntary and users can opt out whenever they want. Which is the case with all of Fitbit's studies that it has done in the past.