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Fitbit gets some Sense

Fitbit has released a new class of smartwatch called the Sense, which sports an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor for stress management, an ECG sensor, and a skin temperature sensor.

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Fitbit has announced the Fitbit Sense, a new class of smartwatch with an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to help manage stress, along with advanced heart rate tracking technology with electrocardiogram (ECG) functionality, and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor.

“Our mission to make everyone in the world healthier has never been more important than it is today,” says James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “COVID-19 has shown us all how critical it is to take care of both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Our new products and services are our most innovative yet, coupling our most advanced sensor technology and algorithms to unlock more information about our bodies and our health so you can be in control.

“We are breaking new ground with our wearables, helping users better understand and manage stress and heart health, and pulling key health metrics together in a simple and digestible way to track things like skin temperature, heart rate variability, and SpO2. Most importantly, we are making health accessible, surfacing new data that you may only get once or twice a year at the doctor’s office that you can use to focus on your holistic health and wellness, at a time when it’s needed most.”

The Fitbit Sense gives users insights into their body’s response to stress with tools to help them manage physical and mental stress. This stress management experience was built by Fitbit’s team of behavioral health experts, with decades of expertise in diagnosing and treating mental health, along with guidance from medical experts from academic institutions.

The new EDA sensor on the smartwatch measures electrodermal activity responses. Using the EDA Scan app, users place their palm over the face of the device to detect small electrical changes in the sweat level of their skin. Measuring EDA responses can help one understand their body’s response to stressors and help one manage their stress. At the end of a measurement session, users will see an EDA response graph on-device and in the mobile app to gauge progress over time and reflect on how they feel emotionally.

Fitbit’s new Stress Management Score calculates how your body is responding to stress based on your heart rate, sleep and activity data. Ranging from 1-100, with a higher score indicating your body is showing fewer physical signs of stress, the score is coupled with recommendations to better manage stress, like breathing exercises and other mindfulness tools.  

The Sense is the company’s first device with an ECG function to assess heart rhythm for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). According to Fitbit, this condition affects more than 33.5 million people globally. To measure an ECG, one must hold their fingers on the corners of the stainless steel ring around the watch while being still for 30 seconds to receive a reading that can be downloaded to share with a doctor.

Fitbit’s new PurePulse 2.0 technology features a multi-path heart rate sensor and updated algorithm, which enables it to provide on-device high and low heart rate notifications. With 24/7 continuous heart rate tracking, Fitbit Sense can detect and send a notification if one’s heart rate is outside their thresholds. While many factors can affect heart rate, like stress or temperature, a high or low heart rate may be an indication of a heart condition that requires medical attention, such as bradycardia (heart rate that is too slow) and tachycardia (heart rate that is too fast). 

To detect signs of a potential fever, illness or the start of a new menstrual phase, the new smartwatch adds a new skin temperature sensor. Wearing the device while asleep each night lets users regularly measure your skin temperature variation to see trends, versus looking at your temperature at a specific moment in time.

The Sense also includes last gen features like a built-in speaker and microphone to take calls and reply to texts with voice commands, choice of Amazon Alexa or Google voice assistants, contactless payments via Fitbit Pay, thousands of apps and clock faces and more, while still maintaining an impressive 6+ days battery life.

The Fitbit Sense is expected to launch in late September, and starts at a price of $329.95. 

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