Apple looks at developing EKG monitor for future watch versions

Bloomberg: Apple building an Apple Watch with a built-in EKG heart monitor [Update]

As part of this vision, a new report suggests that the company is looking to incorporate an EKG sensor with the watch. EKGs (electrocardiograms) detect irregularities in the electrical impulses that trigger the contractions in the four chambers of the heart.

The presence of an irregular heart rate could indicate that the person is at risk of a future heart attack or stroke, as well as hinting at an existing condition that could require medical attention.

At Cupertino, a prototype version of the Apple Watch allows users to squeeze the frame with two fingers to send a weak electrical current to the heart to pick up signals. Apple is also involved in a heart rate study in partnership with Stanford University.

The current Apple Watch already has a heart-rate monitor, but it's not as accurate as clinical-grade monitors used by medical professionals.

Apple is developing on new versions of the Apple Watch with EKG capabilities, according to a new report.

When it was first released in 2015, the Apple Watch was largely marketed as a high-end fashion piece.

Adding EKG functionality to the Apple Watch is a logical next step for Apple, though not without challenges. "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. US health spending is forecast to grow from nearly $3.5 trillion in 2016 to $5.5 trillion by 2025, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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