Apple has launched a study into whether the Apple Watch can be used to detect respiratory illnesses. This includes flu and of course, COVID-19 that everyone wants to be over. This research was kickstarted in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study.
Surprisingly, this study was initially announced at Apple’s Time Flies event in September last year. The research was only recently launched though according to Apple Insider.
“The goal of the study is to see if the information collected by the Apple Watch and iPhone can detect early signs of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. If you are eligible and decide to participate, you will be provided with an Apple Watch to wear. The watch will collect information about your health and activity. You will also be asked to answer simple survey questions in the Apple Research app on your iPhone about respiratory symptoms and lifestyle on a weekly and monthly basis.
If you get sick during the study, you will be provided with a free, at-home nasal swab to be tested for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, and you will be asked to take some additional health measurements using your Apple Watch.”
The research is expected to take up to six months so we could see the results by the end of the year. Participants accepted into the program will also be provided with an Apple Watch for study purposes. They will be expected to wear “throughout the study, both day and night.”
The Apple Watch is one of the few smartwatches that’s known to be close to if not accurate enough. So, perhaps there could be a way that it can get to detect various deficiencies that can be interpreted as possible COVID-19 symptoms. If not the current models, it is highly likely that the study will help Apple in designing the future models that will help in this.
In fact, previous independent studies have shown that the smartwatch’s heart sensors may be able to detect early signs of diabetes. This is alongside providing early warning signs of atrial fibrillation.