Researchers have cast doubt upon the effectiveness of Fitbit'sproprietary PurePulse technology to reliably gauge heart rateduring periods of physical exertion.

|

According to newly released findings underwritten by the legalteam currently seeking damages from tech giant Fitbit through class actionlawsuit, the popular exercise accessory regularly miscalculated itswearer's heart rate by an average of around 19 beats perminute.

|

The California State Polytechnic University at Pomona studyasked 43 participants to carry out an hour's worth of vigoroustasks analogous to actions portrayed within Fitbit marketingmaterials. While jumping rope or jogging in place, each participantwore a Fitbit, an electrocardiogram sensor, and a medical-gradeZephyr BioHarness.

|

Comparing results, the scientists eventually determined Fitbitnot just significantly inaccurate, but unpredictablyinaccurate. Different models displaying beats per minute were wellabove or well below concurrent measurements.

|

“With strong scientific reasoning,” authors Edward Jo and BrettA. Dolezal conclude, “the PurePulse technology embedded in theFitbit optical sensors does not accurately record heart rate, andis particularly unreliable during moderate to high intensityexercise.”

|

Fitbit counterattacked with a tersely-worded condemnation of theCSPU findings. “What the plaintiffs’ attorneys call a 'study' isbiased, baseless, and nothing more than an attempt to extract apayout from Fitbit. It lacks scientific rigor and is the product offlawed methodology.”

|

As Fitbit representatives note, similar experiments have beenoverseen by institutions across the country, and the majorityarrived at results either inconclusive or broadly supporting theusefulness of the device.

|

In the end, none of this may have any impact upon the ongoinglawsuit. Even if repeated independent investigations proved Fitbitto be plagued by fundamental systemic errors, legal observers havequestioned whether the nebulous claims advertised by Fitbit'smanufacturer could reasonably be construed as guaranteeing itsusers the precise measurement of biological data.

|

Shortly after the lawsuit began, Fitbit issued a press releasehighlighting the distinction: “The success of Fitbit products comesfrom empowering people to see their overall health and fitnesstrends over time — it's these trends that matter most inachieving their goals.”

|

However, despite the overwhelming success of Fitbitproducts — President Obama regularly shows off hisSurge — health maintenance professionals have questionedfor some time whether the company's devices may do more harm thangood.

|

Users continually glancing at the screen for an artificialverification of their efforts could well be less likely to laterregard physical fitness as a lifelong commitment. Conversely,gym-rats desperate to see the numbers rise may injure themselveschasing illusory results.

|

So long as the increasingly hostile legal maneuvers of each sideare splayed across the headlines, though, suspicions over Fitbit'sefficacy have led only to heightened curiosity over potentialimprovements.

|

One hotly-touted recent innovation named Chem-Phys doubles as apatch of skin and promises to revolutionize P.E. tech by catalogingnot just heart beats but amounts of a chemical (lactate) thought tobe produced during sustained exertion. Additional sensors recordingsuch pertinent chem-trails as potassium and magnesium are currentlybeing worked out.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.