Huami is calling attention to a new study that suggests that wearable devices could help predict, monitor, and slow the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. The study was sponsored by the Huami Corporation, which also provided the data for the research.
To that end, Huami gave researchers access to de-identified sensor data from Huami devices worn by roughly 1.3 million users. The data covered metrics like heart rate and sleep activity, and was collected between July 1, 2017 and April 8, 2020. The people who provided it were advised that their de-identified data could be used for academic purposes.
The researchers were able to use that information to develop a predictive model for the spread of epidemics. The data showed that a 1°C increase in body temperature corresponded with an 8.5 beats-per-minute increase in heart rate. Since fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 and other diseases, wearable devices can use those other physiological markers to watch for signs of infection. The researchers retroactively applied their model to the COVID-19 outbreak to see if it could identify peak infection periods, and obtained results that were consistent with those of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
While the results are illuminating, it’s too early to tell how it will be used in public health applications. However, Huami has taken several other steps to combat COVID-19. The company has donated 11.5 million RMB (around $1.6 million USD) in medical supplies, and is currently developing a transparent N95 mask that has been dubbed the Amazfit AERI. The mask would enable facial recognition while still maintaining social distancing and public health.
Huami has also created a smart wearable laboratory in collaboration with the China National Clinical Research Center of Respiratory Disease and Guangdong Nanshan Medical Innovation Institute. Before that, the company formed a partnership with the Chinese Athletic Association to develop smart wearable devices.