Omron has just revealed that it has secured FDA approval for HeartGuide. The watch is set to go on sale January 8th.
Essential reading: Top smart blood pressure montiors
We’ve been waiting patiently for the first fitness watch capable of measuring blood pressure from the wrist. Omron HeartGuide is the first device capable of doing this. Granted it does this via a tiny balloon that inflates to get a reading, but it’s the first step in coming up with sensors that can achieve the same.
Originally announced at CES 2018, the ultra-compact and stylish device is the first watch-sized sphygmanometer that promises readings as accurate as you would get from upper arm models. It has no cuffs, wires or hoses, and will even alert you to reposition your arm it if needed for improved accuracy.
Omron president Ranndy Kellog revealed it was a difficult task getting this product ready for market.
“It took us a little longer than we hoped,” he said.
“Omron couldn’t simply rip the tech out of one of its existing monitors and wrap it around the wrist; the HeartGuide required a complete rethinking of how all the moving parts would work…”
The problem they encountered is that the shape and size of people’s arms and wrists differs. There are a lot of things to consider such as veins, tendons, bones and more.
Ultimately, Omron came up with a concept that inflates the bladder upwards. Furthermore, there is a main cuff on the underside of the watch case, and an assistant cuff near the buckle. Some of the components were manufactured to be smaller than a grain of rice to fit the technology in such a small space.
In addition to tracking blood pressure, the watch provides real-time information on physical activity and sleep. The data is synced to Omron’s Connect app which has seen a revamp earlier this year. The new app works across Omron’s range of connected blood pressure monitors, it’s easier to navigate, provides better graphs and allows you to share readings with your doctor.
The next step is using data gathered from HeartGuide to help users reduce heart attacks and strokes. But right now it’s a learning process. The company will need users to share as much info as possible on lifestyle habits to go with their measurements, so that it connect the dots. At the outset, Omron hopes to encourage users to take medication.
“When people skip their medication they don’t feel any different – but if you’re measuring you’ll be able to see a difference in the data.”
The gizmo features up to 7 days of battery life which is enough for 30-50 inflations per charge. As users are meant to wear it 24/7 Omron has even built in back-up components should one fail. After all, you don’t want to wake up in the morning with a swollen hand!
You can pre-order Omron HeartGuide now for shipping in March. The watch, which comes in three sizes, will set you back a hefty $499. It will only be available in the US at the outset, with other countries to follow (depending on regulatory approval).
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