New Apple Watch Features an ECG System and Fall-Detection Technology

Apple Watch Series 4
A new accelerometer and gyroscope inside the Apple Watch Series 4 analyze wrist trajectory and impact acceleration to determine if and when a fall occurs. These technologies communicate with the watch's GPS and SOS systems to automatically transmit emergency messages.(Photo courtesy Apple.)

In case you missed the 2018 Apple Special Event in September, these are the new, need-to-know Apple Watch features that your members are likely buzzing about.

The Apple Watch Series 4, released on Sept. 21, supports an electrocardiography (ECG) app and features a new fall-detection system. Both technologies have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, categorizing the watch as an official class 2 medical device.

The ECG app, expected to be available by the end of 2018, allows users to read their heart rate directly from their wrist. This is made possible by the implementation of a new electrical heart-rate sensor that can detect irregularities such as atrial fibrillation. Users will be able to store their ECG waveforms in the app so that they can be shared with healthcare providers.

Additionally, a new accelerometer and gyroscope inside the watch analyze wrist trajectory and impact acceleration to determine if and when a fall occurs, Apple COO Jeff Williams said in his Sept. 12 presentation.

"[A]fter detecting a fall, Series 4 delivers an alert and, from that alert, you can initiate and emergency call," Williams said. "However, if the watch senses you are immobile for one minute, the watch will start the call automatically. It also sends a message with your location to your emergency contacts using the SOS feature that's already built into Apple Watch. Fall detection is a feature we hope you never need, but it's really nice to know it's there."

The new watch (starting at $399) also features a 30-percent larger display, a faster computer processor, a longer-lasting battery and louder speakers.

"Fitness is at the core of Apple Watch, encouraging you to be more active by closing your rings and tracking your workouts," Williams said. "And now you have built-in GPS, it's swim-proof, and it even automatically detects when you're working out. And health—health has been at the core of Apple Watch as well. Apple Watch put heart-rate monitoring right on the wrist. And while you can always check your heart rate, Apple Watch now looks in the background and notifies you if it detects an elevated heartrate. This may seem like a simple change, but we see this in our customer letters. It's a profound change. Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health."

Comment below or on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you think about the new watch and how it may influence the health and wellness industry.

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