EKG watchband helps Apple Watch owners spot irregular heartbeat problems

Feeling the beat

Back in 2014 when the first Apple Watch was revealed, Tim Cook and company pitched the smartwatch as a cool and convenient bit of tech, but they also stressed how it could help people monitor their health – and perhaps open new avenues of health research as well. Well that vision just got a boost as the FDA has approved an Apple Watch accessory that monitors a wearer’s heart rate – and also warns them if there’s problem.

Called the Kardiaband, the $200 watch band by AliveCor allows users to get an FDA-approved electrocardiogram, better known as an “EKG,” just by pressing their thumb against a small pad on the watch band. The EKG then plays out on the Apple Watch display and is also recorded. But the real special sauce here is that the Kardiaband and its app are also looking for hints of Atrial Fibrillation, also known as A-Fib.

A-Fib is heart condition that can lead to strokes and heart failure. And, if the regular heart-rate monitor in the Apple Watch detects unusual heart activity, it will prompt the wearer to record an EKG to see if there might be a problem.

Over 130,000 people in the US alone die from A-Fib related problems every year, so if the Kardiaband can help some people pick up an early warning sign and get treatment, then $200 suddenly seems like a small price to pay for a teched-out watch band.

Double vision

We see a lot of cell phones come and go here at DT, but one recent arrival definitely got our attention: the ZTE Axon M. What’s so different about it? Well, if you remember our first peek at a few months back, the Axon M comes with two 5.2 inch full high-def screens, instead of just one like pretty much every other phone out there.

And the way the screens can work together is pretty inventive: they can mirror each other so two or more people can watch the same thing from different positions, or one screen can show a video while the user does something totally different on the other screen, or the screens can form one large tablet-sized display, albeit one with a big seam in the middle.

The Axon M runs on Android of course, and while it’s certainly an innovative design, the phone is far from perfect, especially for its steep $700-plus price tag. DT Mobile Editor Julian Chokkattu put the ZTE Axon M to the test and has a complete review.

That’s one way to catch a flight

Wingsuit pilots are some of today’s most daring daredevils, especially when they’re doing crazy stuff like “proximity flying,” which is when they fly through or close to obstacles. As a roll call of wingsuit pilots who lost their lives in 2013 shows, this is a very dangerous activity. But we couldn’t help but cheer as two Team Red Bull pilots plummeted off a 13,000 foot-tall Swiss peak and pulled off a pretty astonishing stunt by flying into the open door of an airplane… while it’s in flight.

The two men had just under three minutes to make the, uh, connecting flight (as it were), and as you can see, some early attempts didn’t go as planned. The wingsuit guys and the flight crew were in constant communication to coordinate the stunt, but that doesn’t much lessen the risk of overshooting the plane’s door and heading for certain death with the propeller up front. But in the end they do indeed pull it off. Well done, guys.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.


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