Garmin has announced a collaboration with health analytics company Fitabase, with data from its wearables set to be used to further health research.
The partnership means that researchers tapping into the Fitabase platform will be able to access the mountains of data collected on the multi-sport watches, fitness trackers and other wearables from Garmin and then use it to help create more accurate health studies in the future.
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For example, Signe de Place Knudsen, a PhD Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Copenhagen University, is now able to pore over the data from Garmin devices connected to the Fitabase platform to test how physical activity during pregnancy affects maternal and child health.
In the past, this kind of research may have relied on anecdotal, self-reported data from participants, but the new partnership means that more consistency should be found across studies using Fitabase.
"Much of today’s research is based on episodic health data or patient memories," said Travis Johnson, Garmin Health's global product lead. “The objective is that continuous data from Garmin wearables provides researchers a comprehensive window into activity, heart rate, sleep, and even pulse ox data that may help to better understand the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes.”
The move, on paper, is a positive one for both the wearable and scientific community, and also follows on from what we've seen from Garmin's rivals. Apple (through ResearchKit) and Fitbit have already spent the last couple of years helping researchers advance their work through wearables, and it was only a matter of time until Garmin joined the pack. Fitbit, interestingly, was also first onto the the Fitabase platform, joining up with the company back in 2012 to help with clinical trials.
Expect to see plenty more research examples like the one from Copenhagen University popping over the coming months and years, as Garmin devices continue to help bring objective data to studies across the globe.
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