A version being tested requires users to squeeze the frame of the Apple Watch with two fingers from the hand that’s not wearing the device, one of the people said. It then passes an imperceptible current across the person’s chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates. Such conditions can increase the risk of strokes and heart failure and develop in about one-quarter of people over 40, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last month, Apple announced the launch of the Apple Heart Study app, a research study using the Apple Watch heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib). While the heart rate sensor on the current watch may be useful in some situations, an electrocardiogram would be a notable improvement.
“There’s tremendous potential to do on-device computing, to do cloud computing as well and to take that learning, and through machine learning, deep learning and ultimately artificial intelligence, to change the way health care is delivered,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams told an audience at a conference in October. “We can’t think of anything more significant than this.”
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