We have written about Proteus Digital Health before (see “Want Chips with Those Pills?“) covering their microchips for tracking patient medication. This time, however, the company apparently has a new product in the works strictly for athletes who want to get the maximum benefit from their workouts. The Proteus Recover is a system that includes a wearable patch that records biometric data around the clock. The website makes no bones about the product’s intended use:
“The Recover product and associated wearable sensors is a consumer product and not a medical device. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
This is an interesting disclaimer for a product that is designed to track resting and average heart rate, as well as the start and stop of sleep. It measures heart rate variability (HRV) and energy expended on a daily basis. Combined with subjective feedback from the wearer, the system is able to monitor and analyze an athlete’s activity 24 hours a day, providing insight into how effective their recovery is from the daily physiological load. They can then adjust their workouts for optimal performance.
Clearly, this same technology could be used for medical applications, such as detection and tracking conditions from heart arrhythmia to sleep apnea. The hurdles for medical certification are much higher than for “simple” fitness trackers, so it makes sense that Proteus would initially release the product for the consumer market first with modest claims and a limited mission. It would appear that the same system could help patients with medical conditions, however, and I would not be surprised if this initial release will also generate data that may be useful in expanding its applications in the near future.