Verily has unveiled its long-discussed wearable health tracker, Study Watch. The Alphabet unit formerly known as Google Life Sciences has designed the watch to meet the needs of clinical trials and the patients they monitor, resulting in an unobtrusive device with a long battery life.
Focusing on researchers, rather than consumers, has resulted in a device that is notably different from wearables from Apple, Fitbit and other manufacturers. Some of the standout features of Study Watch are those designed to ensure research participants keep wearing it for the duration of the trial and cut the risk of data loss.
These features reflect investigator concerns about the impact on data quality of subjects failing to wear the device or upload results from it, as well as everyone’s worries about the security of health and research data. To mitigate these risks, Study Watch has a longer battery life, more storage and a greater focus on security than is typical.
At one week, the battery life of Study Watch exceeds that of many wearables, although it falls well short of the one year achieved by Garmin’s vivofit. With patients only having to take off the device to charge once a week, there are fewer opportunities for subjects to forget to put Study Watch back on than there are for other devices with battery lives of one to five days. The design of the device, which looks like a normal watch and does little other than tell the time, is also intended to make people comfortable with wearing it day to day.
This is one way Verily has designed Study Watch to deliver research-grade data. Another is the focus on security. Data kept on the device are encrypted before being uploaded to the cloud. And the amount of storage on Study Watch means users can go an unusually long time between syncing.
Image Credit: Verily