A major shot has been fired in the race to wearable blood pressure tracking after Valencell unveiled the world's first cuffless sensor at CES 2023.
The company has shown off a fingertip clip sensor, which is designed to take blood pressure readings without the need to be calibrated, or require the use of a cuff.
It’s still pending FDA approval, and the product doesn’t have a name yet. But Valencell is expecting it to be cleared by regulators in “late 2023”, after which we’re sure it will quickly get a release. Valencell says it will cost just $99.
The sensor works using PPG sensors, just like traditional wearables. Specially developed algorithms use the data from the sensor, along with personal information and baselines, to calculate blood pressure.
That data is then sent to the app, where Valencell will augment the readings with advice on lifestyle changes and adaptations.
The device itself resembles the SpO2 sensors used in professional medical settings – and that metric is now commonplace on wrist wearables.
So this is a major step forward toward getting blood pressure data on the wrist.
And this crucial piece of data could become as commonplace as heart rate and SpO2.
True blood pressure tracking has eluded the wearables industry to date – and is considered one of the Holy Grails of true consumer wearables. Samsung offers the feature on the Galaxy Watch 5, but it requires calibration with a cuff every couple of weeks.
And the Huawei Watch D also measures blood pressure, via a special watch strap that inflates on the wrist. It's a chunky device, designed for those with specific hypertension management needs, rather than a true consumer device.
The advantages to tracking this metric are obvious, and even those who suffer from hypertension rarely check their blood pressure levels.
In a Valencell study, 62% of Americans with hypertension admitted to only measuring their BP a few times a month or less. That’s far below expert recommendations of twice daily.
But bringing the metric to everyone could have huge wide-ranging benefits, and make wearables crucial health companions.
We'll be talking to Valencell founder Dr. Steven LeBoeuf during CES – so look out for our interview.
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