Smartwatches help fight diseases

A clever watch on your wrist may one day be the key to fighting infections such as COVID-19 or similar diseases. A team from Stanford, Scripps Research and Fitbit Corporation has suggested wearing the device as an early disease detector. Now algorithms which will reveal signals of immune system, such as rise in heart rate and body temperature are developed. This makes it possible to receive warnings in the early stages of disease.

The project will study data from five types of wearable devices, each of which will have its own algorithm. Fitbit donates 1000 copies of smart clocks to the experiments. The number of potential experiment participants will depend on how quickly the initiative will be implemented.

Researchers already understand the potential problems of the method. After all, changes in heart rate and temperature can be caused by a mass of harmless everyday events. And the algorithms will have to be able to recognize this difference.

Stanford Professor Michael Snyder said that wearable devices collect more than 250,000 measurements every day and this data can be invaluable for understanding who got sick, when and how. The full picture of the infection is not collected in this way, because only a small proportion of the world's population owns a portable gadget. However, the method can provide a more accurate picture of outbreaks and foci of infection, which will help mitigate the damage and understand their properties.

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