Fitbit uses its fitness-focused wearables to track a number of different activities, with exercise and sleep being the two main ones. Now the company is suing its hardware and software for something a little more interesting, with it kicking off a COVID-19 early detection study.
Users can sign up for the study via their Fitbit mobile app, but it is limited to those who make use of the platform in the United States and Canada for now. The scope is narrowed even further down as only people who have flu-like symptoms, or have had or currently have COVID-19 are eligible for signing up.
According to TechCrunch, the objective of the study is create an algorithm for early detection of COVID-19 thanks to the data that is captured and analysed.
Whether such a feat is possible remains unclear, but given the US president Donald Trump has been pushing for a vaccine to be developed before the year’s end, this may prove a helpful step in that process.
Back to Fitbit, and the study will ask participants to answer a few questions about their physical condition. This data will then be fed into the previous data the person has captured via the Fitbit app, in order to uncover any potential patterns or markers for early detection.
Should pre-symptomatic data be unearthed, it could prove a helpful solution in getting people to self-isolate earlier. Making such data enforceable in any way, however, becomes a more difficult task, especially given some of the flagrant breaks of quarantine we’ve seen in North America lately.
Either way, if Fitbit does indeed uncover anything from the data, it should prove interesting, and at the very least something that health authorities can use.