Are some smart health connected bracelets racist?

smart health connected bracelets are struggling to take health measures on colored skin. This is particularly the case of heart rate monitors that work in green light, like those of FitBit, Garmin or Samsung.

Millions of athletes around the world use smart health connected bracelets or watches. This allows them to measure their performance and monitor their health status. The heart rate monitor is particularly popular during jogging or cycling. This tool is a good way to know the state of his heart and see how he reacts to the exercise. It also makes it possible to detect possible disturbances of the cardiac rhythm and to protect itself if necessary. This is the case of atrial fibrillation. Except that recent studies have shown that some smart health connected wristbands and watches would sometimes have trouble taking accurate measurements on color skins.

One of the most used technologies by heart rate monitors embedded in fitness wristbands uses green light waves. Thus, manufacturers like FitBit, Garmin or Samsung use it. Gold this simple and inexpensive means of measurement is limited, unlike more advanced devices that work with infrared. Specifically, the instrument constantly measures the volume of blood with its green light waves. The flow varies with respect to the heartbeat, and then returns the light signal differently. Except that before arriving at the blood vessels, the wave must first cross the skin.

Some bracelets smart health connected are not suitable for all skin types

Due to the short nature of its wavelength, green light is more easily absorbed by melanin. It is a pigment that is responsible for the coloring of the hair, the iris of the eyes and the skin. The more there is, the darker the skin is. We can therefore deduce that on dark skin, the strong presence of melanin will let less pass the wave of green light. The heart rate monitor can not do its job well, and the results are skewed.

A FitBit spokesperson told our colleagues at the STAT information site that they are increasing the power of their wave to try to overcome this problem. He continued by assuring that accuracy of measurements is a subject they take very seriously. They do their utmost to offer products that meet these criteria and the expectations of their users. In contrast, Garmin and Samsung have not yet rebounded on the controversy.

green light of samsung and garmin bracelets

Phases of tests sometimes incomplete

US manufacturers have access to a relatively wide range of individuals on which they can Review their objects. The results obtained should thus illustrate the differences for each person. With these surveys, they can then adapt their technology to make it suitable, or just work properly, for the greatest number. However, when a manufacturer does not have access to such a wide distribution, its product will obviously focus on a given type. It will then not match everyone and will not take into account some physical aspects.

Few studies deal with this phenomenon, and these do not indicate clearly how the color of the skin influences the measurements of the smart health connected bracelets and watches. It is indeed complicated to make such a demonstration when little research has been done and the technology changes overnight. On the other hand, the capacity of absorption of green light by melanin is no longer to prove. It would therefore be necessary continue to study this topic to find all the weaknesses in the precision of the measurements by the smart health connected wristbands and watches that so many sportsmen use.

 Smart Be Well


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