Fitbit's In-App Study Will Determine If Wearables Can Detect COVID-19

It could also help spot other infections before symptoms appear.
Fitbit's In-App Study Will Determine If Wearables Can Detect COVID-19
Image credit: Cherlynn Low/Engadget

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This story originally appeared on Engadget

is venturing beyond its research partnerships to launch an infectious study of its own that’s very easy to join. The device maker has introduced a study inside its app that will help determine if smartwatches and fitness trackers can spot early signs of COVID-19, the flu and similar diseases without waiting for symptoms. If you’re at least 21 years old and live in the US or , you can volunteer by filling out a questionnaire regarding your (such as whether you’ve had COVID-19). Fitbit will combine that with activity data to see if there are any telltale clues and, ideally, build an algorithm that alerts people before they infect others.

Related: 4-Step Entrepreneur's Guide to Surviving COVID-19

The study is available in the app’s Discover tab under Assessments & Reports, and you can withdraw at any time.

As with studies from Scripps and Stanford, there’s no guarantee this will lead to a usable detection system. There’s still a lot that humanity doesn’t know about COVID-19. If Fitbit succeeds in finding an algorithm, though, it could both improve understanding of the disease and help isolate infected people before they have a chance to spread the illness to others.

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