Apple is working on an advanced EKG heart monitor feature that it'll integrate into future smartwatches, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Its sources suggest that the tech giant plans to shift the focus of its smartwatches from high-end fashion accessories to medical devices in a bid to spur new sales.
While it's not known when the company plans to introduce thhe new technology, Apple Watch users will be able to initiate the feature by squeezing the watch's frame.
Once this has been done, a current will be used to check for electrical signals in a person's heart and chest. This information could detect problems, such as irregular heart rates.
If these are left undetected, people can end up suffering from serious health problems, such as strokes and heart failure. Apple intends to bring sophisticated medical technology to the consumer market, in the process providing another 'unique selling point' for its wearables.
Currently, electrocardiograms (also known as EKGs and ECGs) are found in GP offices and hospitals, but they're bulky and only track activity for a short period of time.
And while the Apple Watch does have a heart-monitor feature, it's nowhere near powerful enough to predict problems that may arise in the problem.
The firm is looking to change this. As Bloomberg notes, by implementing EKG technology into the Watch, Apple will have a product that can help users find heart abnormalities early.
The sources claim that Apple has been working on this technology for a while, but the development stage is still unfolding. It's not certain if the technology will eventually be used in new watches.
Apple didn't respond to Bloomberg's request for comment, but it did speak to University of California cardiologist Ethan Wales.
"I can see a role for wearable ECGs as a mechanism to diagnose arrhythmia as an adjunct to what is currently available," he told the media outlet.
However, diagnosing serious heart conditions - especially, for example, a narrowing of the arteries - requires a combination of ultra-sound and angiogram examinations conducted by specialists.
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