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CES 2024: World’s first 

NoWatch is a health tracker that incorporates an AI companion that uses language models to produce personalised feedback, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

Nowadays every smartwatch and health tracker uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse and combine vital signs into personalised feedback. However, until now, that feedback has tended to be entirely in the form of numbers that sum up the wearer’s health status, associated with generic categories of advice.

It was only a matter of time, with no pun intended, before a manufacturer leveraged the world of generatuive AI to take the category a step further. A startup based in Amsterdam, Nowatch – a combination of “Now” and “Watch” rather than standing for “No Watch” – has announced Nowatch Insights, “an AI companion that weaves daily health data into a compelling daily narrative along with tips to build stress resilience”.

The feature is built into its new line of Chronos designer timepiece faces, debuting this week at CES 2024 in Las Vegas as part of the NetherlandsTech Pavilion in Eureka Park, a startup showcase at the Venetian Expo.

Nowatch Insights uses large language models – the basis of generative AI – to synthesise “diverse data streams into coherent narratives, providing users with personalised daily recaps and recommendations tailored to their specific interest profiles and wellness goals”.

The software begins the process on behalf of the user, who can then personalise the tone and length of these narratives and tips, for example choosing to make it more creative or more analytical, more caring or more direct. This helps users recognise and understand the relationship between sleep, stress, activities, movement and their health, all of which are standard in other health trackers. As a result, Nowatch calls the device an “awareable”, rather than a “weatable”, and claims it is a world-first in this category. Of course, the proof of the claim will lie in the actual user experience once it becomes widely available.

“Our AI-driven Nowatch Insights functionality stands apart by prioritising thoughtful, high-quality responses over rapid, chatbot-style exchanges that only incentivise people to be on their phone more,” says Nowatch CEO and co-founder Timothée Manschot. “Our unique approach guides the AI towards deep, analytical processing that is grounded in science, ensuring meaningful insights that make our AI a truly personal companion on your wellness journey. Data privacy and control by our users of the AI application is at the core of our design.”

Nowatch is also set apart by the use of gemstones that personalise the physical device.

The company said in its CES announcement: “The introduction of the stylish Chronos timepiece watch faces gives Nowatch users the option to wear a traditional watch style or to interchange the watch face with other precious gemstones of their choosing. The Chronos watch faces — Classic and Essence — interchange easily with other Nowatch discs while still offering the same data and health tips to build stress resilience.”

Nowatch provided the following information on how the device works:

Skin Conductance: Measures changes in sweat gland activity via skin conductance. The biosensing technology (developed in partnership with Philips) sends a small, non-harmful current to the skin and measures the change in electrical conductance between two points over time on the skin.
Stress Estimate: Contrary to other wearables, Nowatch is able to distinguish if someone is stressed or moving/exercising at the same time. This stress estimate is one of the most robust in the market due to a combination of patterns in heart rate, HRV, skin conductance and breath rate that provides a highly accurate estimate of stress or heightened emotional activity.
Vibrations: Nowatch quickly learns the wearer’s biorhythms, and users can choose to send gentle personalised vibrations to themselves when something is happening physiologically. If a user checks in with how they feel, then based on their subjective state, Nowatch can recommend how to deal with it in the correct way.
Individual Stress Fingerprint: Nowatch recognises that stress manifests differently in the body from person to person and calculates how stress affects a user’s body based on subjective input. The scale measures reactivity from Deep relaxation to High stimulation. The Nowatch algorithms look at total reactivity and then calculate whether the reactivity is stress or not.
In-app Breathing Exercises and Lifestyle Recommendations: Empower users to monitor and respond to stress and what triggers it, leading to a better understanding of stress and building stress resilience.

* CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, is one of the most influential tech events in the world, serving as the launchpad for several thousand new products every January in Las Vegas. It is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and features every aspect of the tech sector.

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