Verily, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, is responsible for Study Watch, a smartwatch for research purposes in to Parkinsons and heart diseases. As such, it only captures health data for clinical research, with metrics including heart rate, electrodermal activity and body movement.
Launched in 2017, the Study Watch has just obtained FDA clearance for implementing ECG technology, being designated as a Class II medical device. This now enables Verily’s device to measure, record, and read out single-channel ECG rhythms.
These might signal two major breakthroughs for Alphabet, or Google in specific. By collating a larger spectrum of clinical data, Google might be headed in the same direction as Apple had for a while.
With Apple Health, HealthKit and ResearchKit, Apple has shown commitment to user health and wellness. The implementation of ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4 was a blockbuster in the wearables sphere – bringing otherwise difficult-to-access technology to the masses in a convenient and cost-effective way.
Alphabet would be able to better provide warnings, advice and feature sets based on its experiment with Verily’s Study Watch.
Of course, the most intriguing possibility is Google implementing the ECG technology on an upcoming wearable. The tech giant had bought smartwatch technology from Fossil just recently for US$ 40M, which might be a clear indication of its future commitment to wearables.