It makes the wrist tremble. “You’ve been sitting for a long time.” It vibrates again. “Message…”. Then, just before I start running, I program the device to monitor the session.
More and more users Smartwatches started to become popular just a decade ago. They quickly evolved from a small extension of the mobile phone into powerful tools for monitoring daily physiological states. Behind these and their measurements are investments in the development of advanced technologies that make their data increasingly reliable.
How to increase reliability? How much benefit do these accessories provide to their users, or do they not? What do you hope to achieve with them in the future?
Invited to learn about EL TIEMPO Huawei Health Lab in Helsinki, FinlandAn important research and development center that will answer these questions.
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The first smartwatches went on sale only ten years ago. These were innovative devices that encompassed many of the functions of a mobile phone on a much smaller screen.
In just a few years they have become much more than just an accessory. They started to implement revolutionary measurement functionsInformation such as how many steps the user takes per day, how his heart rate changes during the day, even how much he sleeps and what his sleep behavior is like.
Now, high-performance athletes and amateurs can measure their performance in their disciplines with a smart watch. And the monitoring options offered by these devices continue to increase: it is possible to choose the sport performed, you can also find out how much oxygen the body consumes, monitor its recovery until it returns to a state of rest, view routes, take measurements. time and more.
All this data is now known when worn on the wrist a device whose previous function was only to tell the timeAfter all, it’s about these monitoring health issuesPreviously, he said, knowing this was only possible by attending a medical consultation or purchasing multiple specialized devices.
Therefore, smartwatches are much more than an accessory. Studies published in prestigious scientific journals show that they may even be useful today in the diagnosis of different medical conditions.
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These advances have been made possible by companies’ investments in developing increasingly effective technologies. In Huawei’s case, they do this with multiple tools research and development centers (R&D). These areas play a fundamental role in the design and optimization of various sensors and algorithms that make your products’ measurements and data more precise.
The new Huawei Health Lab in Finland, opened on October 26, is the environment where smartwatches, also known as wearable devices, are tested and developed.
This center is a Multidisciplinary team consisting of 6 doctors of science (Ph.D.) and 20 experts in five main fieldsSuch as physiology, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, software testing and software engineering.
The venue is equipped with sports equipment covering more than 20 sports. Monitoring of more than 200 physiological and biomechanical indicators. It is divided into five main regions.
For example, one of them has machines that are found in any gym: ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes. This zone includes a variety of cardiovascular exercises.
You can also find a countercurrent pool, a ski simulator, a multifunction treadmill and another equipment treadmill.
Testing and development are carried out with this equipment and other special equipment used by professionals working in this center, and ultimately Huawei takes them into account in the development of its products.
High-performance athletes also collaborate hereAmong them are skiers, athletes, cyclists, parachutists and swimmers. In addition to wearing a smart watch on their wrist, these people are also monitored with other equipment.
According to Huawei, the pool was built with professional swimming standards in mind. The area is equipped with dynamic water jets that produce a controllable flow rate of up to 350 m3/h and also allow the temperature and quality of the water to be varied.
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And while skiing remains one of the most popular sports in Europe, the lab’s ski simulator features adjustable speed and incline, interactive routes and poles. It also has some sensors that detect speed, position, angle, force and user performance data.
“The center joins the company’s commitment to improving the lives of its users through innovation and optimization of its technologies” says Huawei. It joins other health and fitness centers that the company has opened in Germany and the Chinese cities of Songshan Lake, Xi An and Shen Zhen since 2016.
Some of the different research trials to be carried out in Helsinki will be carried out with the WATCH GT 4, the brand’s latest smartwatch launched in Colombia. This watch will provide users with basic health monitoring technologies and fitness to accurately measure their physiological state. data.
“Thanks to Scientific educational technology of this smart watch“It will be able to measure users’ running ability, record and analyze training data, provide personalized training recommendations and plans, and help users maintain a science-based healthy and sports lifestyle,” Huawei said.
To achieve this, it is necessary to develop standards with a strong scientific and professional team behind them, whose main function is to ensure the reliability and integrity of the data.
“Our main agenda in the last three years was to develop standards to verify wearable devices and smartphones for companies or for everyone,” Professor EL explains in a conversation with TIEMPO. Luis Bettencourtfrom the Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon (Portugal).
Bettencourt also coordinates the Interlive network of 6 universities in Europe together with Huawei. The institutions are the University of Lisbon (Portugal), the German Sports University (Germany), the University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences (Norway), University College Dublin (Ireland) and the University of Dublin. Granada (Spain). The group aims to develop best practice protocols for assessing the validity of consumer wearable devices.
The teacher explains that the standards were developed for: step counting for heart rate, energy expenditure and also VO₂ max -i.e. maximum oxygen consumption-. Scientific articles on these standards have been published in some of the world’s top scientific journals in the field of sports science: British Journal of Sports Medicine and Sports Medicine.
On the other hand, the teacher emphasizes:As a result of his research, he concluded that the devices have immeasurable benefits.. And it mainly emphasizes the following factor: motivation.
“For example, if a person takes 4,000 steps, they can set new goals and then decide what the next step of their goal will be. So there’s also a combination of diagnosing, but probably more importantly, setting motivational goals.” says.
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He adds that it is positive that these goals are determined by the individuals themselves, taking into account the skills they have, rather than by other people’s criteria.
“This self-determination, with this information available to each individual, face our more sedentary lives a more sedentary life in offices, older adults and even children. “Thanks to these wearable devices and the valid information they provide, they are really useful in helping more people lead healthy lifestyles,” he concludes.
Yaleni Solano Alarcón
EL TIEMPO.COM journalist