Let me back up a few decades to see if we can peer into the future. Wait. What? That doesn’t sound right. But it is. By looking backwards into the past we can get an idea of what the future may bring. Here’s a perfect example.
Remember the first Mac portable? It wasn’t so much portable as it was luggable. Today’s Mac notebooks are positively tiny by comparison, yet of much higher quality in every respect; they do more, last longer, have better battery life, better screens, and applications just cannot be compared. How does that look backwards get us a look to the future?
Not that many decades ago Star Trek introduced the Tricorder, a handheld device which used sensors to scan, collect and analyze data.
Three primary variants of the tricorder appear in Star Trek, issued by the fictional organization Starfleet. The standard tricorder is a general-purpose device used primarily to scout unfamiliar areas, make detailed examination of living things, and record and review technical data. The medical tricorder is used by doctors to help diagnose diseases and collect bodily information about a patient; the key difference between this and a standard tricorder is a detachable hand-held high-resolution scanner stored in a compartment of the tricorder when not in use. The engineering tricorder is fine-tuned for starship engineering purposes. There are also many other lesser-used varieties of special-use tricorders. The word “tricorder” is an abbreviation of the device’s full name, the “TRI-function reCORDER”, referring to the device’s primary functions: sensing, computing, and recording.
Yes, that was science fiction and decades after Star Trek we’re still hundreds of years behind the Tricorder’s advanced sensors and data analysis, but that comparison of yesterday’s Macs to today’s Mac notebooks, should tell us that Apple Watch is moving in the right direction for a new Apple revolution.
Watch has sensors. Many Watch users don’t know it, but one of those sensors tracks your heart rate. Automatically. Check it out with a free iPhone and Watch app called Cardiogram.
Here’s a good example of Cardiogram capturing your heart rate. Orange is normal heart rate, almost red is elevated, and blue is lower than 60-beats per minute.
What’s happening here is pure Apple.
Watch already records your heart rate every x-number of minutes, though you can set it to record constantly during a workout. Cardiogram grabs the data Watch already collects and parses it to display your heart’s activity over a period of time.
Here’s an example of a heart rate during a casual tennis match.
Again, the heart rate sensor is already on Apple Watch. Cardiogram merely grabs the data to give you a view of your heart’s activity over a period of time, but it also analyzes and compares your personal activity with others who use Cardiogram (your personal data is anonymized, of course).
You’ll be able to see how your heart works over time during a day; during rest, during sleep, during movement, exercise, and more. Then, that data is measured over longer periods of time to compare heart activity over months.
The results are nothing short of remarkable; not only for healthy people, but especially for those of us with heart problems. You can share metrics with others, of course, but the real benefit here is an ongoing look at your heart’s health.
Sensors Be Good
Cardiogram is a look into the future. Apple is known to be working on a sensor to measure blood oxygen and blood sugar for Apple Watch. We may think of Watch as a notifications device, but it’s as much health device as anything, especially for those who need to know how their heart is working under different circumstances.
The future is sensors. Once Apple develops a Watch sensor that can accurately determine blood sugar and oxygen, Watch sales will become the must-have device. Only Apple knows what progress has been made to date, but it’s easy to see where the future will be in a few years. You may be of the generation that decided watches were a thing of the past, but I’m one of those who wants to wear my heart’s data on my sleeve.