Shashwat Pradhan Shashwat Pradhan

Wearables moving beyond wellness applications as medical devices

The FDA has just cleared Kardiaband by AliveCor, which is the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch. Kardiaband records a medical-grade EKG as an Apple Watch strap and has an Apple Watch app providing a graph and data of the EKG. This is a leap ahead for wearables as we are moving beyond wellness applications into real medical ones. Before the Food and Drug Administration approved it in the US, it was being sold in Europe.


The Kardiaband is used to detect atrial fibrillation and abnormal heart rhythm. Before the Apple Watch strap, they also had KardiaMobile which was an external device that connected with a mobile app. The tech behind this that is SmartRythm, a neural network that can provide data on your heart rhythm and also detect an abnormal heart rhythm. Although, Cardiogram already managed to achieve 97% accuracy in detecting an abnormal heart rate using just the Apple Watch Heart Rate sensor. They also further studied that the Apple Watch Heart Rate data can be used to detect sleep apnea and hypertension as well.

2017 has been a revolutionary step for wearables with bolder medical applications rather than simply being better fitness trackers. The rumor mill is also keeping up with news on modular straps that Apple is working on for the Apple Watch. Moving ahead from wellness applications, we are definitely going to be seeing more medical health applications like blood sugar monitoring from wearables. This would actually provide deeper and more critical insights related to health vitals.