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AliveCor shows Apple Watch ultrasonic ECG heart monitoring wrist band, plans 2016 launch


AliveCor, maker of the iPhone-compatible Mobile ECG cardiac monitoring accessory (reviewed here), has unveiled a new Apple Watch version that can be worn as a wrist band. The tentatively-titled Apple Watch ECG goes beyond the heart rate sensor built into the Apple Watch, adding a two-electrode electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor directly into a flexible wristband similar in appearance to Apple’s Sport Band.

Combined with a native watchOS 2 app, the Apple Watch ECG can graph the wearer’s heart beat over extended periods of time, as well as recording heart activity and voice annotations (“I feel like my heart just skipped a beat”) simultaneously, a feature not found on the iPhone version. Additionally, thanks to the new accessory’s guaranteed position on the wrist, it “may be able to detect an upcoming event using continuous monitoring,” AliveCor notes. Like the iPhone version, AliveCor’s Apple Watch app will also be able to send annotated ECG readings directly to a technician or doctor for interpretation.

Rather than connecting to the Apple Watch using Bluetooth or the Watch’s hidden data port, Apple Watch ECG uses the same ultrasonic technology as the iPhone accessory, leveraging the Watch’s microphone to receive ECG data transmissions. This reduces the battery-powered accessory’s power consumption by 92% versus Bluetooth, while offering superior data bandwidth. Pending FDA approval, the Apple Watch ECG is currently planned for a 2016 release, and expected to sell for around $199. A video of the new wristband accessory in action is below…