It was discovered that certain inexpensive fitness trackers were employing false heart rate sensors

It has been discovered that some very inexpensive fitness monitoring devices use fake heart rate sensors. Don’t let yourself get fooled by this fraud!

It might sound unbelievable, yet there are several firms that are marketing fitness bands that include bogus hardware. CNX Software, which is a media and news site addressing embedded systems, conducted research and discovered that this is the case.

They completed a hardware dissection on a couple of activity trackers that are routinely available at Chinese sites like Aliexpress and Gearbest for between $5 and $10 each. It may sound absurd, but it was discovered that some of them do not feature the ideal heart rate sensor that was stated on the product. Instead, all they have is a pair of green LEDs that are completely inactive and do nothing at all.

To refresh your memory, optical heart rate monitors exert a gentle mild pressure against the patient’s skin. When your heart contracts, blood travels through your arteries at a faster rate, which results in less light being reflected back as it passes through your body. After then, an algorithm will be used by the gadget that you wear on your wrist to determine your heart rate.

One characteristic that is shared among these counterfeit devices is the presence of a Telic TLSR8266 Bluetooth board. The board that you see in front of you is the genuine article; yet, for some reason, many of the wristbands that use it also feature the fictitious heart rate sensor.

Bracelet with a smart M4 chip 

The M4 smart bracelet is an example of one of these types of devices, as recognised by CNX Software. This is a copy of the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 that costs a lot less. In point of fact, it is quite similar, making it extremely difficult to differentiate between the two. But it becomes much worse than simply imitating another person’s design without their permission!

It is expected that the M4 will be able to monitor blood oxygen levels as well as blood pressure in addition to measuring heart rate. You shouldn’t place any stock in what you read there. Since the tracker contains an accelerometer, one possible application for it would be to keep track of the user’s steps. It has been verified that this is true; at the very least, it possesses an accelerometer.

Our take

The cost of several fitness-related hardware components has significantly decreased. However, it would appear that taking shortcuts is the standard when trying to sell a fitness tracker for under five dollars. It is quite likely that these gadgets calculate pulse rate values depending on readings from accelerometers. This means that if the device detects that you are moving, it will cause the measurement of your heart rate to increase. To put it in the most kind terms, that is the epitome of dishonesty and irresponsibility.

Don’t let that mislead you. If a fitness tracker costs between $5 and $10, you should just use it as a simple pedometer and not for anything else. Even better, spend a little bit extra money on a reasonably priced exercise band. You may expect to pay between $30 and $40 for it, which is not an excessive amount of money for something that monitors your health!

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