Wearable Sensors

Millions of Americans leave for school or work each day wearing devices that count their steps, check their heart rates, and help them stay fit. The next generation of “wearables,” used by individuals in partnership with their health-care providers, might be able to monitor vital signs, blood oxygen levels, and a wide variety of other measures of personal health. Toward making this a reality, NIH scientists recently conducted a study involving 40 adults who wore a commercially available smartwatch over many months. The devices were programmed to provide a continuous daily stream of accurate personal health data that researchers could access and monitor. When combined with standard laboratory blood tests, the information, which totaled more than 250,000 bodily measurements a day per person, could detect early signs of infections simply through changes in heart rate.

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This page last reviewed on February 11, 2020