Alphabet today announced the Verily Study Watch. If you don’t remember, Verily is the health wearable company which Alphabet acquired.
So let’s start by talking about what this isn’t. This isn’t the hot cool new watch that you’ll be able to buy from Google with Android 5.0 and all the latest health sensors packed inside. It won’t help you complete your homework fast, either, but someone certainly missed out on a cool idea for a product there.
Oh, and this is not for sale.
Instead, the Verily Study Watch is considered an “investigational” device which will be used by several partners, including researchers for the Personalized Parkinson’s Project. The watch has a unique combination of both physiological and environmental sensors which can read many signals relevant to electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, electrodermal activity, and inertial movements.
The device itself can last up to a week and has its own on-device storage and chipset for real-time algorithms. When the data needs to be studied at larger volume, the data — which is fully encrypted — can be shifted to the cloud for high-volume processing assisted by AI.
This watch isn’t meant to be a revolutionary health-improving wonder boy on its own, but instead a tool to help push forward medical research through the manipulation of high-volume study data that’s collected efficiently, unobtrusively, and directly from the study participants, and processed at large with the scalability to support multiple levels of studies.
The ultimate goal is to vastly expand the data we collect and know about health diseases and how environmental factors may affect one patient compared to another, which would hopefully take the guesswork out of pinning down proper courses for treatment, and maybe even help work toward a cure for some conditions. It sounds like decades-long work, but you have to start somewhere, and for Verily, it starts with the Study Watch.