It's the ultimate in connected wearables -- a small and inexpensive, clinical-grade biometric sensor system that can continually monitor your vital signs. Vital Connect has developed the HealthPatch, which is a system that uses disposable adhesive bandages and a reusable wireless module to replace chest strap and wristband type fitness trackers, as well as expensive medical monitors. Now the company and developer SweetWater Health are announcing the first commercially available app to work with the HealthPatch: SweetBeatLife (US$9.99).
First, let's talk a bit more about the HealthPatch ($199). It is equipped with electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes, a 3-axis MEMS accelerometer, and a thermistor to measure skin temperature. While all of this used to take an external box and a pile of electrodes (akin to a Holter monitor), now it's all down to a small blob of electronics, an adhesive bandage, and your iOS device.
At this point, the HealthPatch measures heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), respiratory rate (RR), skin temperature, body posture (including detection of falls and their severity), steps, stress, and sleep staging.
Link your HealthPatch with SweetBeatLife, and suddenly you have medical measurements at your fingertips. The app does stress monitoring, and can use the HRV readings to provide training suggestions (i.e., "do a low exertion workout tomorrow"). The app can even determine if you're sensitive to certain foods, as your body reacts by elevating heart rate after eating an offending food. For professional and amateur athletes, tracking your heart rate recovery after exercise can show just how your training is progressing.
We'll be checking out the HealthPatch and SweetBeatLife soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for that review on TUAW.