this function will help Google in its fight against the Apple Watch

Fitbit has just taken an important step: its connected watches and bracelets will be able to detect cardiac arrhythmias. It will be possible to alert in case of risk of atrial fibrillation.

Connected watches and bracelets have very quickly taken the turn of health to invite themselves on our handles. Cardiovascular diseases are particularly in the sights of these accessories, but it sometimes takes time to take advantage of the latest innovations. In recent years, brands have been competing to allow the measurement of heart rate, electrocardiograms (ECG) or to calculate the level of oxygen saturation in the blood (SpO2). Convenient features that require some vigilance from the user. For manufacturers, the ambition is to anticipate possible health problems with new solutions.

It is the Google project that has just overcome a major obstacle in the United States. Connected watches and bracelets from its Fitbit brand now have the ability to continuously monitor users’ heart rates. A solution that will identify heart rhythm disorders and therefore detect atrial fibrillation; a failure that increases the risk of stroke. In a blog post, Google confirms that it has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and this will help it fight the Apple Watch.

The Apple brand’s connected watch dominates the segment, with advanced functions. From now on, Google and Fitbit will be able to rely on a new algorithm called photoplethysmography (PPG). Until now, the feature could be used via manual action by the watch owner. So the main change is to be able to track in the background, like the Apple Watch. To get validation, Google conducted a study with 455,699 participants with some interesting results. Fitbit devices were able to correctly identify atrial fibrillation in 98% of cases.

A US-only feature, for now

Google confirms that this feature will “soon” be rolling out to Fitbit devices. However, it will first be reserved for the United States and should not land in France for a few months. As on the other side of the Atlantic, an agreement from the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) will be required to obtain certification. This nevertheless confirms Google’s desire to weigh in the field of health and smartwatches; through its own products or Wear OS.

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