How does the Scosche Heart Rate Monitor Strap Optical Sensors work

The Scosche armband heart rate strap uses optical sensors to "see" the pulses of blood flow in the blood vessels in your arm. Groundbreaking technology and pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Anything to get rid of those monitor chest straps will be an improvement. I feel this will result in a greater number of people training more effectively. You can read an earlier post where I describe the Scosche as possibly the best heart rate monitor strap option for participants in our classes that include any of the new Indoor Cycles with power consoles - except the Keiser M3 or M3i. 

The new Apple iWatch uses the same optical sensor technology and it will be interesting to see how the two match up.

Jon Ham is a fitness consultant to Scosche and has written a detailed comparison between what he sees as the differences between the Scosche and the iWatch. You can read it here.  [Understand that Jon's comments about the iWatch are based on information provided by Apple - the iWatch isn't available for purchase yet.]

As a side note, I've been trading emails with a former Schwinn Master Trainer who's involved in the iWatch project and (fingers crossed) I hope to interview him about the fitness applications of the iWatch once it's released.

The part I found most interesting in Jon's article was the part about data collection

Is the Apple Watch Designed to be a Continuous Heart Rate Monitor for intense exercise?


The way I saw it, In Tim Cook”™s presentation, the Apple Watch was shown to be an excellent Activity/Life monitor, where movement, lifestyle, and general health were emphasized, and not heart rate training.  I could be wrong, but I think Apple knows heart rate is not going to be super accurate during exercise with the Apple Watch, therefore they built the Watch around making a great interface for activity monitoring - IE: how often you stand up throughout the day, pedometer information, etc.  This will surely play out to be a thorn in the side of FitBit and other activity monitors, but I don”™t think it poses a threat to serious heart rate training athletes.  

Data Centralization

I think Apple knows their job is to centralize the data collected from accurate sensors, not to necessarily create the sensor itself - except for activity monitoring.  For example, Health Kit will allow all connected apps to push data that has been collected from different sensors directly into Apple”™s Health App.  I don”™t see Apple getting into the Blood Pressure monitor or blood glucose monitor business any time soon, but apps that monitor blood pressure and blood glucose can push their data to Apple Health.  I DO like the way the Apple Health App will centralize that information into one health app, along with other health related metrics.  It makes sense to have all that data in one centralized location.  The bottom line is that you should be able to use other heart rate sensors to do your workout and gather accurate data, you won”™t be confined to only using the Apple Watch to collect accurate heart rate data.

Time will tell if Jon is accurate about this and if so, there's a chance we'll want to be wearing both an iWatch and a Scosche armband when we exercise.


Add Your Thoughts...