According to the folks over at iFixit, who continued their tradition of tearing down Apple’s products right after their launch with the Apple Watch as well, the heart rate monitoring sensor found in the Apple’s smart wearable may also be able to measure your blood’s oxygen levels, The Next Web reports. On opening up the Apple Watch, they noticed that the heart rate sensor wasn’t just the optical module typically find on fitness trackers, but was rather a pulse-oximeter.
“Knowing your oxygen levels is handy. If you’re hiking, for instance, you can get a better sense of how you’re adapting to high altitudes, and it’s useful metric if you’re an athlete (especially if you have asthma). Most importantly though, it’s simply another measurement to provide a more holistic view of your health and fitness, and it might come in handy for doctors and biologists using Apple’s ResearchKit too.”
For those who aren’t aware, pulse-oximeters work similarly to optical heart rate monitors by shining a light into your skin to measure changes in your blood flow. The increased blood volume per pulse changes light transmission through the skin, which can then be measured by the sensor. As to why Apple isn’t marketing the device’s ability to measure blood oxygen levels in addition to the heart rate, remains a mystery.
iFixit on the Apple Watch’s heartrate sensor: pic.twitter.com/aE3goYegAL
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) April 24, 2015
Could Apple be planning to add the functionality in a future update?