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Wearable biometrics employed for health monitoring and advice, work safety

Apple Watch used in heart failure study as Facebook plans smartwatch

biometric wearables

Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) has launched a study to evaluate the effectiveness of biometrics and other data gathered by Apple Watch sensors for early identification of worsening heart failure.

The study applies the new technology to a group of 8,000 heart failure patients already monitored by the UHN, and is intended to provide more precise and timely heart health assessments. The Apple devices will be used with an app to measure Blood Oxygen, with biometrics gathered by health sensors and mobility metrics of participants over a three-month active monitoring study, using an iPhone or an Apple Watch Series 6. Participants will also be tracked over a two-year follow-up period.

“We think that biometric data derived from Apple Watch may provide comparable, precise, and accurate measurements of fitness, prognostic markers and early warning signals, compared to traditional diagnostics,” says Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology, at UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Scientific Lead, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and this study’s lead researcher.

Dr. Ross is working towards broadening access to health services through digital technologies.

Facebook’s planned Android-based smartwatch will be focused on health, in addition to the social network’s messaging core, The Information writes.

What kind of biometric sensors will be included is unclear, as details are scant, but the new product is planned for a 2022 commercial launch.

Whoop biometrics inform personalized spa program

A different approach to improving health with wearable biometrics is seen in Whoop’s partnership with Four Seasons resort Sensei Lana’i on an Optimal Wellbeing Program, as Spa Business reports.

The luxury resort in Hawaii provides the program as a package of biometric and wellness technologies, which are intended to enable heightened personal awareness and health insights.

A Whoop Strap 3.0 will be used with Sensei’s technology and a blood biomarker diagnostic test, which is used as part of a one-on-one nutrition session.

The collected data will be stored in a Sensei Portal, with biometrics and bespoke health advice updated throughout the program, and available to the guest after departure. The program costs $1,185, but participants get to keep the wearable.

Biometric wearables deployed for light rail safety in UK trial

A trial of wearable biometrics to improve light rail safety by monitoring the fatigue levels of key employees is being hailed as the first of its kind by industry group UKTram.

The new FOCUS+ system for biometrically monitoring fatigue and alerting operators of potential safety issues was developed as part of the Driver Innovation Safety Challenge (DISC) being run by Edinburgh City Council. The Council is a partner in the project, along with Transport for Scotland and the Scotland Can Do Fund.

The system uses a fatigue score generated by biometrics to assess driver health and alertness as green, amber or red, to identify those who should be referred for a health diagnosis. The DISC website notes that a mere 10 percent of road and rail accidents result from mechanical issues.

A preliminary trial has been completed, and data from it used to improve the design of the wearable with a more robust and ergonomic chassis for the current stage.

“The project has already demonstrated its potential to make a huge contribution to further improving light rail safety, and the initial trials provided a wealth of useful data,” explains UK Tram Technical Officer Dan Hill.

“This has enabled our commercial partner, IHF Ltd, to make further improvements to the wearable device and the FOCUS+ algorithms,” Hill adds. “This will help us to better understand the data captured and to identify overall trends.”

Hill says UKTram is looking forward to working with more systems on implementing biometric wearables.

A recent survey from Nymi showed the privacy of biometrics and other personal data is the primary concern employees have with workplace wearables.

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