AliveCor already makes smartphone cases with built-in ECG monitors, and while using it helps monitor heart health and warn of any immediate dangers, it makes more sense for the sensors to be placed on a smartwatch — it’s more convenient, and a lot more discrete. AliveCor agrees, and has announced the Kardia Band, a medical standard ECG monitor for the Apple Watch.
It replaces the strap currently fitted to your watch, and as such can be swapped out for another at anytime, so there’s no need to sacrifice style for function when the situation calls for something a little flashier. You only need to place a finger against the sensors in the strap to get a reading, which is recorded to a new Kardia Mobile app in real-time.
Getting instant ECG readings is important for people with chronic heart problems, in particular something called atrial fibrillation, or AF, which the Kardia Band’s software specifically detects. Why? Apparently, it’s one of the leading causes of strokes. Recognizing the presence of AF helps people make the decision to get medical care. The Kardia Band’s data can be helpful to doctors, and using the app on the Watch lets you record voice memos to note circumstances around the readings.
Kardia Mobile syncs with Apple’s HealthKit to include ECG data with other fitness and health metrics collected by the platform, building a more detailed picture of your wellbeing over time. The strap is made for the Apple Watch while the app is compatible with iOS, it’s also out for Android, where it works with AliveCor’s ECG readers in phone cases. The Kardia Band will go on sale in the next few months, and while there’s no confirmed price yet, the company says some features will require a subscription to unlock.