The world of fitness watches also tracking more general health issues has taken off in recent times after Apple successfully focused on it with their smartwatches. Fitbit are still going strong even with this tough competition and are looking to bring even more features to their watches in the future.
Fitbit can already track the oxygen levels in the blood with their Sp02 sensor but now they are looking at using this sensor to track a problem that many people unknowingly have — sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea (yes that is the correct spelling unless you are butchering the English language like one nation) occurs when a persons throat closes over, either partially or completely, while sleeping. This can prevent a person from breathing for up for 90 seconds causing them to wake, interrupting their sleep and resulting in a poor quality sleep.
Fitbit is in the process of collecting data from the SpO2 sensor on the variations in oxygen levels in the blood with this variation possibly being an indication of sleep apnoea occurring. Speaking to Gizmodo a Fitbit spokesperson said:
Fitbit is continuing to collect clinical data to test and develop FDA-cleared features for sleep apnoea. They expect to submit for FDA clearance soon and are maintaining a dialogue with the FDA throughout this process.
At this stage no smartwatch is capable of sleep apnoea detection but Withings are releasing a watch capable of it in the second half of this year and Apple are working on it currently after purchasing a sleep tracking sensor company.
When Fitbit do succeed in getting FDA approval expect them to roll out OTA updates to all of their smartwatches (since 2017) to enable this new feature. Being the first to bring it to market would be a big coup for Fitbit — for those who suffer from sleep apnoea hopefully it won’t be too long before it arrives.