Innovations That Matter

App asks for user heart rhythm data for disorder research


Researchers hope users of the Heart for Heart app will also donate to find a cure for heart rhythm disorder Atrial Fibrillation.

A joint initiative between the UK and US-based Arrhythmia Alliance, Happitech in the Netherlands, and Bug Labs in the US have launched its Heart for Heart app with the help of the Dutch Heart Association. The app is a simple tool to monitor heart health. Users place their finger on the camera lens of their phone and hold still in order for it to take 90 seconds of heart rhythm data, which will be used in research to find a cure for Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib, the most common heart rhythm disorder.

The app is based on technology called PhotoPlethysmoGraphy (PPG), which measures light reflected in the blood. Blood absorbs light and each pulse increases the blood flow in the body and fingertips, so heart rate can be measured by looking at the changes in light absorption. This method is similar to that used in a pulse oximeter and many wearable fitness trackers on the market. It can also recognise the difference between a regular heartbeat and an irregular one.

Data collated form the app will be made anonymous, compiled and visualised ready for analysis by medical professionals. In addition to the heart rhythm measurements, age, location, gender, weight, conditions and lifestyle is required to be submitted by users.

Technology to aid health and wellbeing is a popular market of late, with the smart t-shirt that has an embedded respiratory monitor and a bra that assists wearer in detecting breast cancer symptoms both available to consumers. Would you entrust technology to monitor your health?



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