It would require the wearer to squeeze the outer edge of the Apple Watch with his opposite hand, at which point the device would send a minute electrical current through his hand and across his chest to measure the electrical signals in his heart.
Apple is working on expanding the heart monitoring capabilities of future Apple Watches, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. The study would monitor Apple Watch users for irregularities in their heart rates that could be symptoms of a heart condition. The publication indicated that internal prototypes for a future model are being tested at present, so it's safe to assume that Apple could be doing this with the Apple Watch Series 4 in mind.
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In the medical field, electrocardiograms (EKGs and ECGs) are used in hospitals, ambulances and doctors' offices so medical professionals could check the heart activity of patients for short periods.
"I can see a role for wearable ECGs as a mechanism to diagnose arrhythmia as an adjunct to what is now available", said Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at the University of California San Francisco.
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By adding an EKG monitor to the Apple Watch, it may become easier to predict arrhythmias as an adjunct to what is now available.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Data from the research may help Apple develop artificial intelligence-based tools that can spot abnormalities more easily and support the EKG project. As the second and third generations went on sale, the focus shifted to health and fitness, with Apple adding alerts for abnormal heart rate spikes.
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Apple Insider pointed out that the new report comes a few weeks after AlivCor's Kardia Band EKG meter received certification from the FDA to be an Apple Watch accessory.