Omron shows prototype of first watch-sized blood pressure monitor

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. One in three adults is affected but as there are no obvious symptoms, a third of these can be unaware of a problem. This is why it is important to regularly measure and track blood pressure.

This time last year, we had the opportunity to preview the next generation of in-development Omron blood pressure monitors. The company took the opportunity at CES 2017 to showcase version 2.0 of the Project Zero devices – an upper arm blood pressure monitor and a clinically-validated inflatable cuff which fits it into a wrist-worn wearable.

Essential reading: Top smart blood pressure monitors

The watch-like device is the more innovative of the two. It allows users to discretely track real time blood pressure readings with a portable device, free of cuffs, wires or hoses. This is the first watch-sized sphygmanometer that promises readings as accurate as you would get from upper arm models. To achieve this, the device uses a miniaturized version of the inflatable cuff found on larger blood pressure monitors.

“The Project 2.0 technology will redefine what have become standard notions of ‘wearable’,” said Omron President and CEO Ranndy Kellogg.

“Our devices are a necessity, not a novelty. Omron blood pressure monitors are medical devices that measure far more than steps or heart rate; they provide accurate insights into your blood pressure numbers.”

In addition to tracking blood pressure, the monitor provides real-time information on physical activity and sleep. All of this health data is then synced to the Omron Connect app for iOS and Android, where the user can better manage their health and share their results with their doctor.

Typically, measuring blood pressure from the wrist is tricky business, as your arm has to be in exactly the right position to get an accurate reading. This is why it is generally accepted that upper arm monitors are more precise. Its precisely for this reason, the new wrist device features sensors that figure out how you’re holding your arm, and alert you to move it if needed for improved accuracy.

Omron has been one of the most established brands on the home blood pressure monitor market since the 1960s. The company sells an almost bewildering range of blood pressure monitors – the majority of which are for use on the upper arm.

While Project Zero 2.0 is still in development, the upper arm blood pressure monitor is on sale now. The wrist monitor will feature a rechargeable battery that will last about one week on a single charge. Now called the HeartVue, it will be available to purchase this spring.

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