Edited By: Shaurya Sharma
Last Updated: January 23, 2023, 11:12 IST
Smartwatches, with their increasing affordability, have become a staple for many people. These devices go beyond just tracking fitness and health by offering a seamless extension of one’s smartphone right on the wrist, with many being standalone devices as well.
They utilize a variety of sensors and hardware such as GPS, accelerometer, heart rate monitor, microphone and speakers to provide a well-rounded experience. Some smartwatches even have additional sensors like a barometer to measure altitude and ambient light sensors to adjust the screen brightness.
In this article, we will delve into the details of how smartwatches function by examining the functions of some of the most important sensors they use.
Heart Rate Sensor
A heart rate sensor, also called a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor, is a sensor used to detect blood flow through capillaries in the wrist to determine the wearer’s pulse rate and record it. The heart rate monitor in a smartwatch is used to measure the wearer’s level of fitness and physical activity as well as to look out for any signs of stress or other health issues.
Additionally, it may also be used to offer sleep tracking and offer other health-related insights. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch can also utilize heart rate information to suggest breathing exercises.
The accelerometer in a smartwatch is essential for monitoring the wearer’s movement and activity levels. It enables the wristwatch to precisely gauge the wearer’s physical activity and fitness by tracking calories burnt, steps walked, and distance travelled. The accelerometer also enables features like lift to wake which allows the user to raise their wrist to wake up their wristwatch.
Like in other devices and use cases, a Barometer in a smartwatch measures metrics like air pressure, measure altitude, provide weather changes and track changes in elevation while climbing or hiking.
Global Positioning System or GPS is a system that leverages signals from satellites to pinpoint the device’s location, enabling features such as tracking of runs, cycling, and other outdoor activities, as well as location-based services such as turn-by-turn navigation and location-based notifications.
The gyroscope is a sensor that helps in tracking the watch’s orientation and wearer’s movement, enabling features such as screen rotation, and navigation.
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