Apple Watch ECG features could lead to force-touch blood pressure readings

The Wall Street Journal predicts that ECG reader in the Apple Watch Series 4 will lead to force-touch blood pressure readings becoming a feature in future mobile devices


Apple Watch's electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor could lead to further developments in mobile devices' ability to take blood pressure readings, experts have predicted.

At its annual product launch event in Cupertino on September 12, Apple announced the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4, which will feature an ECG sensor to measure heart rate and rhythm.

Taking blood pressure readings tends to require an arm cuff (hence why the Apple Watch is a suitable vehicle for the ECG) or the lesser-used smaller finger-based version used for home readings. However, The Wall Street Journal has predicted that a third method could be adapted to use 3D touch for readings.

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"A proof-of-concept study done by Dr. Mukkamala and another set of authors showed that the same finger-pressing method can be applied to optical and force sensors that are already built into some phones—one sensor for taking selfies and one for displaying a 3D touch feature," reported the Wall Street Journal.

"The group has developed an iPhone app that guides fingertip placement and calculates blood pressure," it added. "Comparing the results against a traditional blood-pressure cuff, the app was less accurate than the arm cuff. But Dr. Mukkamala says it was comparable to a finger cuff, a device that's been cleared by the FDA for measuring arm blood pressure but used primarily so far in research."

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