Health trackers can be defined as a set of electronic devices and software suites that work in tandem to monitor human activity and analyze the recorded data. Activity data or vitals are available through several wearable and non-wearable devices, with the addition of sensors providing the user with a smart device. These wearables can be worn around the wrist or strapped to the chest to analyze heartbeat and with the addition of sensors providing the user with a smart device breath, or simply as weighing scales connected via Bluetooth to a device with software that can analyze data with more computing capabilities. This analyzed data provides deeper insight into the user's lifestyle and helps make changes to lead a healthier life.
The pedometer was one of the first health trackers where people noted down their steps every day to make sure they got enough activity to lead a healthy life. Today, such pedometers have evolved into body-worn devices known as fitness trackers, devices that are fitted with a broad range of sensors for activity tracking. These trackers are not just limited to counting steps but can also monitor pulse, oxygen levels, heartbeat, body temperature, and more. The most popular fitness trackers or smartwatches with tracking capabilities are Apple Watch, Samsung's Galaxy Watch, Fitbit, and Garmin Venu.
With advancements in medical technology, consumers are now able to access a wide array of medical devices such as weighing scales with fat-measuring systems, sphygmomanometers, glucose meters, and other health monitors. Now regarded as consumer electronics, these devices deliver precision comparable to those available at healthcare facilities. Data from multiple devices can be combined and analyzed to make precise adjustments to the dosages of medication or therapies for patients. Such devices do not require trained professionals or technicians for operation, with any consumer easily able to handle most of these types of equipment. Popular manufacturers of such consumer devices are Withings, Lumen, and Omron.
Health apps and software
The miniaturization and integration of several sensors as health trackers, and their availability to the general public, is not complete without the software suite or apps to paint a meaningful picture of a user's health. Popular apps include those from major sports equipment manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, and Peloton with their running and exercise tracking systems. These apps depend on IoT to collect and analyze data from the trackers or exercise equipment fitted with sensors. Other popular health apps focus on providing a digital assistant for meditation, nutrition tracking, and, in recent times, for contact tracing using smartphones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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