Digital Marketing Company for Sale

Digital Health: Firms Advance Wearable Tech at CES 2022

Wearable tech, concept CES 2022 Apple watch
Written by publishing team

Fitness trackers like the Apple Watch make people comfortable wearing sensors to monitor their body functions. Now a number of wearable tech gadgets — on full display at the CES 2022 tech trade show this month — are making a path toward a digital health future where patients and their doctors can monitor the human body 24/7 as if it were an industrial machine.


An apple (AAPL) has led the digital health tracking trend with Apple Watch smartwatches. But a number of other tech companies are chasing the digital health market with their wearables designed to pick up on your body’s signals – literally from head to toe. Sales of wearable tech devices are expected to increase more than half a billion units for 2021 and jump nearly 50% in a few years.

Big companies like alphabet (GOOGL) Fitbit Module, Garmin (GRMN) and Samsung, as well as relatively unknown as Health Zepp (ZEPP) are involved. Even at home exercise equipment maker Interactive Peloton PTON is said to be working on a digital heart rate bracelet as part of driving the wearable market.

Wearable health technology made a huge part of CES 2022, with more than 100 health companies signed up to participate in the exhibition.

“These wearable sensors are a fantastic and extremely cost-effective technology,” said Karen Panetta, professor of electrical and computer engineering and dean of higher education in the Tufts University School of Engineering. “I definitely see them playing a big role in the future.”

Panetta says the public is showing a growing appetite for wearable technology that monitors their vital signs.

“We evolved from just counting the number of steps someone would take to check their heart rate and dehydration levels,” she said.

Apple Watch leads the way in wearable technology

At the head of the trail are Apple’s wrist-worn smartwatches. The devices feature sensors that can monitor the user’s heart rate and provide notifications of high or low heart rate.

A woman uses an Apple Watch to check vital signs on the go. (blackzheep/Shutterstock)

They can also detect an irregular heartbeat, which can be a sign of atrial fibrillation. News articles have cited several cases of people who haven’t been diagnosed with AFib crediting the Apple Watch with saving their lives.

The latest models, the Apple Watch Series 7, have an electrical heart rate sensor and an EKG app. Series 7 devices also have an app and a blood oxygen sensor. Prices start at $399.

These advanced sensors rely on a base of fitness tracking apps that measure and analyze movement to determine activity levels.

Apple even created a subscription service built on the Apple Watch. The service, Apple Fitness+, analyzes users’ exercise metrics to provide personalized feedback and coaching.

What lies ahead for digital health tools?

So what’s the next step in digital health tracking wearables? Sensors in action can monitor blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and even look for signs of COVID-19 or other infections.

Amazfit digital health device
Amazfit smart watch from Zepp Health monitors blood pressure. (2021 Framesira / Shutterstock)

In July, China-based Zepp Health announced the blood pressure measurement system for its Amazfit smartwatches. The company said it is working on adding continuous blood pressure monitoring.

“The availability of smart watches with health and wellness functions is increasing,” said Lisa Cooper, analyst at Strategy Analytics, in a recent report to clients. “These smartwatches are also beginning to combine sensors that measure multiple biometrics of health including blood pressure, heart rate, ECG, bioelectrical resistance, skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, body fat, body water, sleep, snoring and many more.”

“But we need to think beyond the wrist and innovate by exploring how to monitor multiple vital signs with a single passive sensor as easy to use as a skin patch – something small and unobtrusive,” she added.

CES 2022: Digital Health Expo

Wearable digital health technology was a major topic at CES 2022, which took place January 5-7 in Las Vegas.

first time viewer Abbott Laboratories (ABT) has promoted devices like the FreeStyle Libre System, a small wearable sensor and smartphone app for people with diabetes to constantly monitor their glucose levels.

Omron Healthcare used CES 2022 to promote devices like the HeartGuide, the first-ever wearable blood pressure monitor in the form of a wristwatch and activity tracker. Omron also introduced remote patient monitoring services at the fair.

Other exhibitors at CES 2022 showcased wrist devices, armbands, rings, and skin patches that can collect personal health data.

Wristbands are just the beginning

While wrist-worn devices are the most commonly used digital health tool, others are growing. Some wireless earbuds have heart rate and body temperature sensors.

Owlet Smart Sock Digital Health Product
Sales of the Owlet Smart Sock have ceased in the US (dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom)

Hygienic sensors are also appearing in smart clothes. Startup Siren is developing washable smart socks to remotely monitor diabetes patients for signs of inflammation.

And wearable digital health devices aren’t just for adults. owl (OWLT) makes a product called the Owlet Smart Sock that allows parents to remotely monitor their children’s heart rate, oxygen level and sleep trends.

But Owlet faced a problem that all digital health device makers face. That is, at what point do these devices become medical devices that require government approval?

On October 1, Owlet received a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration regarding the Owlet Smart Sock. In its letter, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that Owlet’s Smart Sock is a medical device in the United States

The agency also confirms that such a device requires approval and approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed the evaluation based on Owlet’s marketing and product functions.

Owlet has halted sales of the Smart Sock in the United States while it seeks marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The device continues to be sold in international markets. On January 5, Owlet launched another wearable device called the Dream Sock, which monitors a baby’s sleep patterns, heart rate and movement. Sells for $299.

Wearable technology as medical devices

Apple evaded Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to apply blood oxygen to the latest Apple Watch. The company stated that it is not intended for medical uses. It added that the app was “only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.”

But Apple will likely add more health tracking sensors to the Apple Watch as the device matures.

Media reports indicate that Apple plans to add a body temperature sensor to the Apple Watch Series 8 in 2022. After that, it is developing a blood glucose sensor, which will help diabetics monitor their glucose levels. Reportedly, work is also underway on a sensor to track the wearer’s hydration.

Meanwhile, Apple is reported to be studying ways to turn wireless AirPods into digital health devices. They can improve hearing, read body temperature, and monitor posture.

The places where today’s wearable tech is short, says Panetta, are diagnostics. They may be able to report potential health problems, but consumers need a doctor to confirm the problem. Also, the large number of false alarms would reduce the effectiveness of the devices.

Digital Health Tools as a Research Tool

Panetta says the analysis software associated with health sensors will improve over time as AI relays data from the devices of millions of users.

Also, research firm IDC estimates that sellers will sell 547 million wearable devices worldwide in 2021, up 23% from 2020. This number includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, earmuffs and other gadgets. IDC expects consumer electronics companies to sell 777 million wearables in 2025.

Wearable technology could be a goldmine for health research, says Robert Herten, MD, a gastroenterologist and wearables expert at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Early studies suggest that the Apple Watch is effective in helping track Covid-19 during the current pandemic, he says. Hardware provides frequent and continuous data collection. He says the data includes resting heart rate and heart rate variability.

Hirten says ensuring data privacy will be a major issue for consumers and researchers. He adds that the wearable technology could also provide clinicians with patient data between office visits.

“It will be really exciting to see how this changes medical care,” Hurten said.

Follow Patrick Seitz on Twitter at Tweet embed For more stories about consumer technologies, software and semiconductor stocks.

You may also like:

Is the Metaverse just sci-fi propaganda or is it really the next big thing?

Next target for video streaming services: Sports, News

Learn how to time the market with IBD’s ETF Market Strategy

Find winning stocks using MarketSmith’s pattern recognition system and custom screens

See stocks in the leader list near the point of purchase

About the author

publishing team