The tech behind Smart watches such as Fitbits and Apple watches is being improved on a regular basis - what kind of fitness monitors can we expect to see in the future? Are implants are the next step to work with watch and wriststraps, offering a more accurate way to measure levels of health?
Perhaps the levels of health monitoring will improve to the point of determining serious health issues before they come to the forefront and offer ways of minimising their effects - perhaps the simple monitor on your wrist can alert you to an imminent heart attack, keep track of blood sugar levels, measure sleep apnea or signs of dementia.
It may surprise you that these already exist already as wearable technology - so it's only a matter of time before they are incorporated into a free app with in-app purchases!
Future of wriststraps
What better way to monitor your vital signs than from the inside?
The first fitness watches were an excellent addition to a workout when they first came out, the heart rate monitor came with an elastic chest band which secured, not always successfully, around your torso. The connection to the monitor was regularly lost and if it wasn't positioned in exactly the right place, your heart rate reading disappeared.
Replacement straps for better readings
Most modern fitness monitors measure heart rate using optical pulse readers - the fitness watch shines a light at your skin and the change in blood flow is measured. This is called photoplethysmography (PPG). In tests it has proven to be less accurate than simply finding your pulse with your finger and counting the number of beats in a given time period, not particularly practical when you are in the middle of a high intensity workout!
The wriststrap covers a larger surface area than the monitor itself, the future could utilise the extra space to include detectors actually built in to the wriststrap, allowing higher levels of accuracy to be achieved, and even a broader range of measurements for biomedical applications.
Implanted sensors offer more accurate ways of measuring body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Still in their infancy but gaining speed since the first trials in 2015, the future of detecting and managing serious health problems is looking really good.
For general health monitoring the implanted chip would still need an interface, the implant relaying the information to your fitwatch and displayed on your wrist.
So if you feel that your health monitor has got a lot of potential and could be looking after you better, rest assured there are teams of people working on it and getting that tech updated and trialled as you are reading this!