Sep 12, 2018 - Technology

A doctor on your wrist

An Apple executive presents the EKG reader on the new Apple Watch

Photo: Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News/Getty

It's 2018 and fancy smartwatches require FDA approval.

Apple said this morning that it got the agency’s green light for its fourth-generation watch. It's half smartwatch, half medical device, including a workout tracker and an electronic eye on its wearer's vitals.

  • If you take a tumble and then remain still on the ground, the Apple Watch can automatically call your emergency contacts.
  • A new sensor allows users to take a 30-second EKG test — which involves sending an electrical signal up one arm, through the heart and down the other. The watch will search for signs of irregular heartbeats that could belie a medical issue.

Users checking up on their own health will contribute to health research: Stanford University School of Medicine gathers Apple's data — without personal information attached — to study.

Our thought bubble: Adding health features like fall detection and improved heart monitoring is probably the best way for Apple to turn the Apple Watch from a nice-to-have product into a must-wear.

Go deeper: Axios gets their hands on the new Apple Watch.

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