BEACON TRANSCRIPT – In this day and age in which wearable technology is becoming a day to day reality, a setback such as a lawsuit can mean disaster for a company. After a certain class action lawsuit was filed against the company, Fitbit heart rate is deemed accurate by Consumer Reports.
Fitbit really hit a setback early this month, after a whole bunch of lawsuits starting hitting them, forming a full-on class action lawsuit.
The lawsuits stemmed from reported heart rate inaccuracies shown by their Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge devices.
Fitbit’s old devices, which could show you how many steps you took as well as how far you walked, generally come in at about $100 -$150 less than their newer devices which also show you your heart rate.
And since nobody was ok with paying between $100 and $150 for devices that don’t properly do what they are supposed to do, the lawsuits started coming in.
The class action lawsuit claims that other manual and automated heart rate monitoring techniques showed large inaccuracies regarding the heart rate read by Fitbit’s devices, even saying that they had a board certified cardiologist confirm the issue.
Especially at high intensity work-outs, the device was reported to present inaccuracies as large as 75 beats per minute (bpm, for short), although the general margin of error was of around 25 bpm.
The company’s devices use a technique called photoplethysmography to read your heart rate, a technology which shines a light on your skin in order to see your blood flow through it.
Along with Fitbit’s devices came instruction manuals, as they come with most devices these days, and it might just so be that the users’ failure to read the instructions is what caused the hugely detrimental lawsuit.
Consumer Reports decided to test this theory themselves, by getting two subjects to wear both of the infamous devices during various stages of physical activity.
As it turns out, the instructions were clear in specifying that the devices were to be worn slightly higher up on the users’ forearm than the wrist; wearing them around the wrist is the reason for the inaccurate results due to the bracelet not being in proper contact with the blood vessels.
The Consumer Reports team simultaneously used a Polar H7 ECG monitor and the problematic devices to properly determine the heart rate, and compared them.
The highest inaccuracy reported was of 11 bpm, and that was reported for intense exercising with the device worn on the wrist. When the subject used the device properly, the discrepancies completely went away.
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