Researches studies have shown that smartwatches are able to predict COVID-19 symptoms before they present. As reported by Engadget small changes in heartbeat can appear up to a week before you notice symptoms.
This research came from Mount Sinai and focussed on the capabilities of the Apple watch. However, way back in May Fitbit launched a similar study to see if their smartwatches could do something similar.
This is all predicated on the fact that researchers believe your body gives off signals and changes before symptoms obviously present. These small changes are something that the watch can pick up but you would not notice.
This is also not the only piece of research done into predicting the presence of COVID-19. Research into the sound of coughs using AI technology found that it was possible to distinguish COVID-19 coughs with a startling rate of accuracy.
Researchers and scientists hope that all of these tools can be used to help fight the pandemic. So much so that one company has begun developing a custom wearable purely for predicting COVID-19.
Smartwatches may be able to predict COVID-19 symptoms
The study named 'Warrior Watch' followed a group of 297 health care workers between April 29 and September 29. Participants wore Apple Watches equipped with apps to measure their heart rate variability (HRV).
Robert P. Hirten, MD who authored the study said, "the watch showed significant changes in HRV metrics up to seven days before individuals had a positive nasal swab".
A similar study found this could also be successful with other smartwatch brands. Undertaken at Stamford University they found that 81 per cent of patients testing positive for coronavirus exhibited changes in their resting heart rate up to 9 and a half days before a positive result.
Studies also indicate that smartwatches can pick up those that are asymptomatic. This is been something that has posed a major problem during the pandemic.
The PGA tour has also recently brought in similar technology to help identify possible COVID-19 positives. Player Nick Watney's Whoop health tracker told him that his respiratory rate went up in the night. This indicated that he may have the virus and thus prompted a test from which he could then isolate.
Whether this technology becomes mainstream is another issue. The chances are this will not be something that rolls out to the entire population. However, even if it prompts a few individuals to get a test earlier than they might have then this would be a win.