Alphabet's healthcare branch, Verily, is prototyping a smartwatch with e-ink display with aims to track user's health data.
MIT Technology Review has spotted a Verily smartwatch and walked through briefly of its technology.
The smartwatch gives a first simple impression. Its circular screen is built with paper-white e-ink display, rather than LED. And it shows only the time, but not any real-time feedback or message notifications. The design is said to reduce the power consumption since most users don't want to charge their watches every night, which is the case of Apple Watch or Android Wear.
Looks simple, but the wearable is able to collects more data than other ones on the market.
Its outer ring has the sensor to measure a person's heart beating rate, or as electrocardiogram (ECG). The two green LED lights at the back of the watch are also functioning to measuring heart rate, which is called photoplethysmogram. The theory behind is that our blood absorbs green light. When the heart beats more, more green lights will be absorbed. Apple Watch is also using this method to gather user's heart rate.
The watch might also be able to measure your blood pressure. Verily recently hired a wearable expert, David He, who worked at a Cambridge-based startup to product a blood-pressure watch. His expertise might land at Alphabet's smartwatch.
However, the watch is not targeted at end-user market but more in the medical research use to collect massive data, such as the company's Baseline study.
The Baseline study seems to be a research that tries to find out new patterns such as discovering biomarkers which enable sickness prediction.
Designing a smartwatch that can achieve precise medical measurement is not easy. Apple's latest smartwatch or Fitbit's fitness band still focus on user's fitness data rather than further health information. Because to detect advanced health data requires users to wear the device really tight to their skin, which is not comfortable for many people.
Alphabet's Verily watch is still under tested. The final detail has not settled yet. But the company's Baseline study might unveil some details later this year. Verily was established in December 2015. Its ongoing projects includes contact lens for people who have diabetes and smart wearables to monitor cancer.