Fitbit today introduced the Sense, its most advanced health smartwatch ever.
Following in the footsteps of the Apple Watch, the Sense is the first Fitbit with an ECG app that can detect an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. To receive a reading, users must hold their fingers on the corners of the stainless steel ring around the watch while holding still for 30 seconds. FDA clearance of the feature is still pending.
Going a step further, the Sense offers several health features that the Apple Watch does not yet have, including an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor for stress management, a skin temperature sensor, and blood oxygen monitoring. (Apple Watch Series 6 models are rumored to support blood oxygen monitoring later this year.)
Fitbit shared details on how the new EDA sensor works:
Using the EDA Scan app, place your palm over the face of the device to detect small electrical changes in the sweat level of your skin. Measuring your EDA responses can help you understand your body’s response to stressors and help you manage your stress. You can do a quick EDA Scan session on device to see your responses, or pair it with guided mindfulness sessions in the Fitbit app to see how your body responds during meditation or relaxation. At the end of your session, you will see an EDA response graph on-device and in the mobile app to gauge your progress over time and reflect on how you feel emotionally.
Based on its ongoing research study, Fitbit says the Sense can also track three metrics that could help with earlier detection of COVID-19, including average breathing rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability.
“Over 100,000 Fitbit users joined the study so far, and we’ve found that our algorithm can detect nearly 50 percent of COVID-19 cases a day before the onset of symptoms with 70 percent specificity,” said Fitbit’s co-founder and CTO Eric Friedman. “This research shows great promise to help us understand and detect COVID-19, but can also serve as a model for detecting other diseases and health conditions in the future.”
Fitbit is making the Sense available today for pre-order for $329.95 on its website and online at select retailers, with broad worldwide availability to follow in late September. Some health features require a Fitbit Premium subscription for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, with a free six-month trial included with the Sense.