Within one of its support posts, Withings has made it clear that the company is hard at work developing heart rate variability (HRV) features for the Scanwatch.
A few months ago, a response was sent to one of the postings that Withings had made on the forum. However, there has been no mention of it in the media because so few people noticed it. We didn’t find it until now.
The following is a statement made by a member of the company’s support staff:
I want to express my gratitude to you for starting this topic and for your interest in the Heart Rate Variability feature. It gives me great pleasure to inform you that this information has made its way to the ears of our developers and that we have only recently begun development on the HRV for ScanWatch! To ensure that the final product has a high level of functioning, we will need some time before we can release it. On the other hand, I will make sure you are kept up to date and will let you know the good news as soon as it is available.
All Scanwatch owners will be able to access this feature in the near future via a software upgrade. Considering that it has been three months since the previous response, the new feature may be released very soon.
Following a protracted period of review and evaluation by the FDA, the product was just recently made accessible for sale in the United States. It has been on the market in Europe for the past few years at this point.
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Withings has taken a different tack on HRV
May of 2021 was the most recent time that we had any new information regarding this topic. During that time, an interview with scientists from Withings revealed the French company had no immediate intentions to include HRV in its watches or sleep trackers.
This information was obtained from an interview posted on YouTube and conducted by Rob der Horst, also known as The Quantified Scientist. In the course of conducting a number of interviews, he spoke with Maximu Dumont, who is the Product Manager for Scanwatch and, more generally, for all Withings watches; Romain Kirszenblat, who is a member of the Applied Research Team at Withings; he and Paul Edouard discuss the sensor components of the products; and Paul Edouard (Data Scientist at Withings). At Withings, the group of three is just one component of much larger teams that comprise dozens of employees.
Variability of the heart rate (HRV)
During that episode, Rob was the one who introduced the topic of heart rate and HRV to the rest of the crew. It was fascinating to find out that Withings employs the Polar H10 heart rate monitor to evaluate the accuracy of the heart rate readings produced by its various pieces of fitness equipment. In addition to the Polar OH1, this is the instrument that we rely on the most. The latter option, in particular, is practical for obtaining reliable statistics on your ticker on land and water because of its convenience.
Scientists from Withings discussed the variability of the heart rate (HRV). The irregularity of the intervals that occur between heartbeats can be measured with this metric. The higher the value, the better the individual’s stress resilience and overall health. This statistic is frequently used to determine whether an individual is prepared to begin training. Your HRV readings will decrease if you are stressed out or overly exhausted.
Scanwatch presents a vast amount of data but does not present HRV. The employees of Withings claim that “the watch has the ability to monitor HRV.” They went on to clarify that this is something that is also feasible on their sleep tracking mat, which I found particularly interesting.
However, Withings notes that HRV readings strongly correlate with the heart rate typical during sleep. Consequently, presenting HRV would be pointless. They recommend utilizing your resting heart rate as a barometer to determine how well rested you are before physical activity. It is also a useful approach to evaluate your fitness level if you engage in consistent physical activity with the goal of lowering your resting heart rate over time.
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It is evident that the corporation has made a course correction, and Scanwatch will now be receiving the HRV metric. There is, as of yet, no information on whether or if the company’s sleep tracking mat will also get it.
Indicators of fatigue, fitness, and health, such as resting heart rate and average heart rate during sleep, are quite valuable; however, heart rate variability (HRV) would provide another dimension. It would be helpful even if the values were shown without any interpretation.
It is possible that it will be introduced as an add-on, with the ability to turn it on or off inside the account settings. Since we are regular users of the Withings Sleep Analyzer, we have expressed to the firm our sincere desire for it to include HRV among the several parameters that it generates each morning.
Automatic detection of activity as well as SpO2 and other metrics
The topic of automatically detecting activity was also discussed in that interview. Running is automatically identified by the watch itself when using a Scanwatch because the techniques used are very standard. Regarding the other pursuits, this component is tailored specifically to the individual user.
Take, for instance, the case when you label an activity like tennis. The computer programs that reside on the Withings server will have the information about your profile updated. Therefore, the next time you play tennis, the watch will check to see if the pattern is appropriate, and if it is, it will log the action as tennis. When it comes to automatic activity detection, each user essentially possesses their very own individual profile.
The readings of the SpO2 were the topic of conversation for a portion of it. When taking a measurement, Withings recommends pressing on the watch to ensure that it is secured against your wrist in a comfortable position. This can be helpful, but as long as the sensor is making excellent contact with the skin, it is not really required to do so.
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The remainder of the interview focused mostly on the accuracy of SpO2 and the measures taken by the company to ensure compliance with EU rules. It’s interesting to note that the precision of the SpO2 is well within the range that the FDA requires. On the other hand, there was no statement made on when Scanwatch will gain approval for the market in the United States.
You will find the complete interview further down on this page. Those debating whether to buy Scanwatch can read our review by clicking on the following link.