Oh look, another smart wearable. Throw it on the pile
Not so fast. How many gizmos on that pile can measure your heart rate? A couple we’re guessing. But we bet there aren’t many which can also measure your blood oxygen levels.
You got me there. But by the time I flatline, it won’t matter.
Stats like heart rate and blood oxygen aren’t there to tell you (or others) whether you’ve kicked the bucket or not.
Take heart rate for example. Your resting heart rate is a good indication of how fit you are, and if you see it lower over time, it means your training is working. See it climb up the other way then it might be time to lay off those bargain bucket meals. Food should be on a plate, you know.
And blood oxygen?
That’s just a reading which lets you know how much of your blood is saturated with oxygen.
In a healthy person, levels should be between 90-100%. If you’ve got a disease like asthma or are climbing at high altitudes, then blood oxygen readings will come in very handy for making sure you’re not in bad shape.
If you’ve given up smoking too, then you can monitor your levels and watch them steadily climb back up after time. Go you.
But how does it actually measure all that?
For blood oxygen, a pair of LEDs – one with a red light wavelength and the other emitting infrared light – is traditionally used.
Both wavelengths are absorbed at different levels depending on how saturated your blood cells are with oxygen. Blood carrying less oxygen absorbs more red light, allowing overall blood oxygen levels to be calculated.
For heart rate, an Optoelectronics sensor as well as several green and red LEDs are used to detect your heart rate through your finger.
The sensor picks up small minute changes on your skin’s surface which sync up with your pulse. These colour fluctuations are caused by blood flow changes from your heart pumping, which is how it can detect your heart rate.
Indeed. We should also point out that the Withings O2 also does the standard fitness tracking stuff too. That means, steps, calories burned and sleep are all monitored. And naturally there’s an accompanying app to keep on track of it all.
And if you don’t like strapping things to your wrists, you can just leave it in your pocket or clip it onto your clothes.