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Even with technical support, measuring blood pressure has always been time-consuming - also because of the cuff. This is no longer necessary, thanks to the winning app of a Nationwide innovation competition: a smartphone with a camera is sufficient for measurements.

The “Welltory” initiative aims to strengthen and promote technology-based health analysis. That is why the organizers try to motivate universities, industrial companies, and government agencies to work closely together in various areas for new enhancements and innovations as Welltory did.

Winner: App measures blood pressure with a smartphone camera

The Welltory’s capability of measuring stress, energy level scale, heart rate variability, and an app that works on the principle of heart rate measuring device, the project was selected as the best bet by an expert jury. It can be useful as a meditation tracker or you can try how it works as a blood oxygen level app.

With the smartphone camera alone, the app should be able to reliably determine blood pressure. If the user presses their finger on the mobile phone camera, an algorithm can derive the blood pressure from the image. Especially for users who have to measure their blood pressure regularly, this means less time at the doctor's or with the cuff at the room table.

The app is available for iOS and Android in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Simply smart: measure blood pressure

Smartwatches and wearables are upgrading and are increasingly offering the collection of medical data in addition to fitness planning. Why such a smart accessory can be useful for people with high blood pressure.

In the beginning, fitness wristbands were primarily used for self-optimization and for control during intensive sports units, but many people have now switched to using smartwatches and other wearables to control their lifestyle and permanently monitor their health.

So far, medical values have only been collected at specific times at the doctor's or clinic. With wearables, the small computers on the wrist, measurements are theoretically possible at any time. Lifestyle, environmental influences, and daily routine can be taken into account when measuring and allow a much more extensive view of the results. The use of medication can be observed more closely and any change can be better understood.

Measure blood pressure with Bluetooth instead of a stethoscope?

The conventional blood pressure monitor with stethoscope, tube and cuff is almost obsolete. Even in medical practices, digital oscillometers are increasingly being used, which determine the values fully automatically and precisely.

These devices are more suitable for private use anyway. The cuff is placed either on the upper arm or on the wrist. Upper arm models usually measure more precisely but are sometimes unwieldy to use.

Smart blood pressure monitors, such as fitness watches and medical wearables, have the advantage of being small and easy to use. They show the current state of health at the touch of a button or finger and transmit the findings to the app on the smartphone or PC via Bluetooth. Also, to get the blood pressure measure the apple watch HRV will suitable. There the information is transferred in graphics and tables, can be compared and saved.

Anyone who is healthy and would like to use the blood pressure measurement function in the context of sport and general fitness can work well with the current offers from the manufacturers. However, if you already have cardiovascular disease, the results of electronic measuring devices with a cuff are more reliable. You can also network with your smartphone via Bluetooth, which makes it easier to document the data digitally.

What will medical wearables do in the future?

One of the big goals is to be able to permanently determine not only the pulse but also the blood sugar level and blood pressure via a sensor on the wrist. A long-term, constant measurement - especially in the case of sporadic symptoms - can provide important information about a cardiac arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation, for example, can thus be identified and treated at an early stage.

"Transdermal Optic Imaging" takes a different approach. With this method, the user records a video of their face with their smartphone. The technology can analyze imperceptible changes in blood flow in the face and calculate blood pressure from them. Although it is a long way from being ready for the market, the development gives hope for further simplification: In the future, it may be enough to take a long look at the cell phone to check blood pressure.

Technological progress will enable ever more precise measurements that will in the future correspond to those of a professional blood pressure monitor. For people with heart problems, this mobile control that can be carried out at any time can make everyday life much easier.

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