How much health-monitoring technology can you pack into a smartwatch? The medical technology company Masimo is pushing the boundaries of that answer with its upcoming Freedom smartwatch. The new device measures arterial blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), pulse rate, heart rate, respiration rate, and more. Plus, it has fall detection. And the traditional technology you expect in a smartwatch, including calling, texting, music, and compatibility with third-party apps.
Addressing ever-growing privacy concerns in an increasingly-connected world, the smartwatch has a handy privacy switch. It halts all data sharing, stopping any transfers of metadata, location information, and user data. Rare for the digital domain in which we live, there’s an actual physical switch on the side of the case that keeps data inside the device. This seems important; fitness and health-tracking wearables collect data that extends well beyond the wearer’s health. A recent study by researchers at the University of Alabama, Florida State University, and Purdue University found that wearables routinely collect “personally identifiable information about users of these devices and apps, including their profile information, habits, location, and state of mind.”
When the Freedom’s privacy switch is off, the device sends data via Bluetooth to the Masimo Health app, which offers detailed insights. One standout feature is the app’s Hydration Index, which continuously monitors for healthy hydration and lets you know when you need more water to improve sleep quality, mood, and cognition. On the app’s dashboard, one can also see their Perfusion Index, showing changes in blood circulation, and a Pleth Variability Index, showing how changes in hydration affect perfusion.
So how much will the Masimo Freedom set you back? That’s unclear. The company is taking pre-orders with $100 deposits, but has yet to set a price. However, we can guess the cost may be around $500, which is the retail price for the Freedom’s predecessor, the Masimo W1 smartwatch. Guess we’ll learn the price tag before the Freedom ships this fall.