Garmin appears to be gearing up to introduce a skin temperature tracking feature for smartwatches equipped with the Elevate 5 heart rate sensor. The latest firmware update has dropped a subtle hint, suggesting that the feature’s rollout could be imminent.
The leaks and the firmware update
Garmin is somewhat late to the game compared to competitors like Fitbit and Apple. They’ve had skin temperature tracking on some of their watches for a while now. Nevertheless, the feature is highly anticipated and could be a significant addition to Garmin’s health and wellness tracking capabilities.
The first actual reference to skin temperature tracking on Garmin watches was noticed back in February. A few users spotted a new section in the app to support the functionality. This has been removed since.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
In August, the skin temperature widget surfaced in leaked screenshots of the Garmin Venu 3 watch. That was prior to its actual release. Surprisingly, the timepiece was unveiled without the feature. Presumably, it still needed perfecting before being rolled out to the masses.
Fast forward to a recent Beta firmware update, that goes under version 15.68, which was rolled out for Garmin Fenix 7, 7Pro, Epix, Epix Pro and a few other high-end watches. While the software ostensibly focused on adding a nap tracking function and some minor updates, a few users discovered a hidden gem. A new folder can be seen in the system files named “SkinTemp,” but only in the Pro versions of Fenix 7 and Epix.
The technology: ELEVATE 5 sensor
The presence of the “SkinTemp” folder suggests that the skin temperature feature is on the horizon, and it’s likely to be exclusive to watches equipped with Garmin’s latest heart rate sensor, ELEVATE 5. The Pro versions of Epix and Fenix 7 have the technology, as does the Venu 3 range and Vivoactive 5. This sensor is known for its accuracy and could potentially offer reliable skin temperature readings, a metric that is challenging to measure from the wrist.
Interestingly, the skin temperature tracking feature appears to be designed to work only while the user is asleep. This limitation could be due to the complexities involved in measuring skin temperature accurately during physical activity or daily tasks. Sleep provides a controlled environment where variables like movement and external temperature changes are minimized, making it easier to get reliable readings.
Potential applications and limitations
Skin temperature tracking can offer insights into various health conditions, including fever, sleep disorders, and hormonal imbalances. However, its utility is not without limitations. For instance, the feature’s sleep-only functionality may restrict its application for real-time health monitoring during the day. Moreover, the accuracy of wrist-based temperature readings has been a subject of debate, and it remains to be seen how Garmin’s technology will fare in this regard.
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