Whether you’re tracking your heart rate for general fitness or for a more specific wellness concern, there are many choices. You can wear wristbands, armbands, or even chest straps which many have considered the most accurate, if not the most comfortable. Now there’s a hat that promises medical grade heart rate monitoring.
Spree Wearables has two choices for using your head to read your heart rate: the Spree Smart Headband and Spree SmartCap Smartcap. In either case, the Spree head toppers use a triple axis accelerometer and a plethysmograph to monitor body temperature and heart rate. The plethysmograph detects blood volume changes directly from the forehead. There’s certainly more blood flow in the forehead than in wrists where other wearable devices that use plethysmography (light and optical sensors) take readings, such as the Apple Watch. Blood flow volume requirements factor in obtaining accurate heart rate measurements with plethysmographs, one of several reasons some do not consider the technology as accurate as ECG sensors.
According to Spree Wearables, the greatest advantages of the SmartCap over alternative heart rate monitors are comfort and accuracy. Chest straps are considered accurate but uncomfortable and restraining by men and women. Wristbands often give inconsistent, inaccurate readings, according to the SmartCap’s maker. The SmartCap streams information to iOS or Android smartphones running the Spree app. Heart rate and body temperature display with color-coded arcs for quick reference. Ease of use and appearance are two of the SmartCap’s best attributes.