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Fitbit’s renewed focus on health couldn’t have come at a better time

Fitbit unveiled its latest premium wearable today – the Fitbit Sense – marking the company’s evolution from a fitness-first brand to one with a renewed focus on health monitoring tech.

The Sense is Fitbit’s most advanced health smartwatch yet, according to the company. The device features the world’s first electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor found on a smartwatch. The EDA sensor is designed to help its wearer manage stress, which can contribute to a variety of physical and mental health disorders. Considering the current circumstances, a stress sensor feels like a much-needed addition to our health-tracking arsenal.

Other features include advanced heart rate tracking, a new ECG app and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor. Meanwhile, the Health Metrics dashboard makes it easier to track your heart rate variability (HRV), breathing rate and SpO2.

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It seems Fitbit’s turn to health tracking during a global pandemic isn’t a complete coincidence. The company actually completed a study that found metrics in its Premium dashboard – including changes in breathing rate, resting heart rate and heart rate variability – were often able to detect Covid-19 along with, and sometimes even before, the onset of symptoms.

“Wearables may be able to play an important role in the early detection of infectious diseases by acting as an early warning system for our bodies, which is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and to better understanding disease progression”, said Fitbit co-founder and CTO Eric Friedman.

“Over 100,000 Fitbit users joined the study so far, and we’ve found that our algorithm can detect nearly 50 percent of COVID-19 cases a day before the onset of symptoms with 70 percent specificity. This research shows great promise to help us understand and detect COVID-19, but can also serve as a model for detecting other diseases and health conditions in the future”.

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“We are breaking new ground with our wearables, helping you better understand and manage your stress and heart health, and pulling your key health metrics together in a simple and digestible way to track things like skin temperature, heart rate variability and SpO2 so you can see how it’s all connected”, said Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park.

“Most importantly, we are making health accessible, surfacing new data that you may only get once or twice a year at the doctor’s office, that you can use to focus on your holistic health and wellness, at a time when it’s needed most”.

Luckily, Fitbit isn’t completely abandoning its fitness tracking roots with this device. Its newest smartwatch features all of the key health, fitness and smart features you’d expect from a Fitbit, along with the new wellbeing features.

The Fitbit Sense is available for pre-order today on Fitbit.com/uk and through select retailers. Prices start at £299.99.

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