The new Apple Watch Series 4 has new health capabilities that includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the new Apple ECG app.

With the new Apple Watch users can take an ECG reading from their wrist using the new ECG app, which connects to electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back of the  Apple Watch.

With the app, which has been granted a De Novo classification by the FDA, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. According to Apple, it can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation, a heart condition that could lead to health complications.

All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

With the new Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 5, the Apple Watch device intermittently analyses heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as Atrial Fibrillation is detected. It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

The new fall detection feature utilises an accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analysing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services.

If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.

“We’re thrilled Apple Watch has become an essential part of people’s lives,” said Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Williams.

“The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of ground-breaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health,” concluded Williams.

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