It can be difficult to accept some of the claims as fitness and activity trackers morph into multifunction biometric-tracking smartwatches that promise to be all things to all users. While the smartwatches intrigue potential buyers, their doctors may not be interested in data produced by these devices. In its tightening embrace of telemedicine, the medical community has to deal with patient-derived data from consumer devices. Clinically valid data is the best response to both concerns. Blood pressure monitors are of particular interest because of hypertension’s pervasiveness. We’ve written before about blood pressure measurement with alternatives to traditional cuffs. We saw and were impressed by Valencell’s optical sensor technology at CES 2017. In 2014 we wrote about Charmcare’s H2 FDA-cleared wristband blood pressure monitor.
Smartron, an India-based tech company, recently introduced the t-band, which is an iOS and Android compatible smartwatch that uses multiple sensors to measure blood pressure. The t-band has a PMOLED 128 x 64 resolution display and is rated for 2 to 3 days use per charge with its 100 mAh lithium-polymer battery. The watch is IP67 dust and water resistant so it’s not suitable for wearing in the shower or while swimming. Onboard sensors include a 3-axis accelerometer, a photoplethysmography (PPG) optical heart rate monitor, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. According to Smartron, the t-band measures blood pressure using the PWTT (pulse wave transit time) method, which combines data from the ECG and PPG sensors. The watch also displays heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep efficiency, and an undefined “health index” score. The t-band displays call and text alerts, weather alerts, and application notifications, although the specific alerts and notifications will vary with iOS and Android applications. The watch stores up to 14 days of motion data, and 10 ECG and blood pressure ratings.
Do-it-all wearable devices such as the t-band are appealing. To be truly useful, however, these devices must do the testing required to substantiate the validity and reliability of its health scores that match the data produced by current clinical devices.