“…it’s worth noting that this technology could also potentially be used for biometric authentication, with other biometrics specialists such as Nymi having demonstrated that the unique patterns in an individual’s heart rhythm can be used for identification.”
Along with its unveiling of this year’s new iPhones, Apple also showed off an upgraded Apple Watch this week. And while the smartwatch, like the new iPhones, hasn’t undergone a substantial redesign, it does deliver some prominent new features, including an electrocardiogram capability.
The feature allows the Apple Watch Series 4 to take an ECG reading from the user’s wrist, thanks to embedded electrodes and a new electrical sensor installed in the smartwatch’s back crystal. The system can deliver a heart rhythm signal after 30 seconds of monitoring.
In announcing the new feature, Apple emphasized its health applications, noting that the ECG system can notify the user if it detects an abnormal heart rhythm, including Atrial Fibrillation, a potentially serious condition. The system will also store health data in a PDF that can be shared with physicians. But it’s worth noting that this technology could also potentially be used for biometric authentication, with other biometrics specialists such as Nymi having demonstrated that the unique patterns in an individual’s heart rhythm can be used for identification. Apple hasn’t mentioned such an application, but it could emerge down the line.
Beyond that, Apple has also leveraged the device’s accelerometer and gyroscope to watch for hard falls on the part of the user, which will trigger a notification asking if medical help is needed, and automatically call emergency services if the user is immobile for 60 seconds after the fall. Other new features of the Apple Watch Series 4 include a 30 percent larger display, a 50 percent louder speaker, a new 64-bit dual-core processor, and haptic feedback through the Digital Crown.
The Apple Watch Series 4 will go on sale starting September 21st, and will start at $399.