Alphabet's Verily gets ECG clearance for Study Watch, signaling bigger health plans

A big week for the Big G
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It's a big week for Google's wearable plans. Following news that it's paying $40 million for Fossil technology, parent company Alphabet announced it's obtained FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram (ECG) wearable, the Study Watch.

The Study Watch, if you recall, is a prescription-only smartwatch used for clinical research purposes. The watch captures ECG, heart rate, electrodermal activity, and inertial movements, which is allowing Verily to research serious conditions such as Parkinson's and MS.

Read this: Google's and Fossil's mystery deal needs to really deliver

Now the FDA has given the nod for the ECG, clearing it as a Class II medical device, which is the same clearance given to the Apple Watch's ECG. An ECG monitors electric activity in the heart, and can be used to detect heart conditions like atrial fibrillation.

"One area of focus for Study Watch has been cardiovascular health, as heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women in the United States," said the Verily team in a blog post, later adding, "The ability to take an on-demand, single-lead ECG, can support both population-based research and an individual’s clinical care".

While there are no signs that the Study Watch will become a consumer device any time soon, clearing the FDA is notable as it would theoretically allow Google to share this technology with its Wear OS partners.

Or - if the Fossil news is in any way a hint that Google is planning its own hardware - could see the company launch a smartwatch to finally compete with the Apple Watch. We don't know exactly what Google has got from Fossil, but it could be an integral piece to the long-anticipated Pixel Watch.

If it is, the Study Watch could prove to be test bed for the health technology that could eventually be transferred to Google's own consumer smartwatch. Or at least, we can dream, right?

Alphabet's Verily gets ECG clearance for Study Watch, signaling bigger health plans

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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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