An Apple Watch Series 4 saved the life of a man at risk of heart attack. It detected atrial fibrillation prompting the user to visit a doctor, who took the necessary precautions to avert the worst. But this is not an isolated case. On other occasions the ECG function available with the update of WatchOS 5.1.2 and able to record a single led electrocardiogram, has been found essential to preserve an optimal state of physical well-being. But this is not the only added value that makes Apple Watch a real life-saving device.
A few days ago, the NRK online newspaper reported the news of a sixty-seven-year-old Norwegian literally saved by the Fall Detection function. The man, Toralv Østvang, on Saturday night was found by the health workers on the bathroom floor bleeding and unconscious. According to the authorities, Østvang got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but he fainted and fell to the floor. The impact caused some fractures to the face. Fortunately, the man wore an Apple Watch, which automatically sent a call to the emergency number.
“It could have been much worse. All day, we wondered what would have happened if my father had not worn the Apple Watch. He did not even have his smartphone with him. It is exceptional that from the sending of the SOS my father received such quick help. The doctors told us that the fall was serious and that maybe the smartwatch saved his life”. These are the words of Østvang’s daughter, Kirsti, who stresses how important this watch is for older people.
For the man to wear Apple Watch proved providential: the detection system falls, for accounts of users over sixty-five, is activated by default. But let’s take a step back: how is the Fall Detection function modulated in detail ?
Case 1 – Analysing the trajectory of the wrist and accelerating the impact, the acceleration of the Apple Watch impact detects a fall and sends the user an audible alarm and a touch to the wrist and displays an alert. At this point you can choose whether to contact the emergency service or ignore the warning by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper left corner or tapping I’m OK.
Case 2 – If Apple Watch, after detecting a fall, also detects a movement, waits for the response to the alert and does not automatically notify the emergency services. If, on the other hand, the device ascertains that the user has been stationary for more than a minute since the notification has been received, the SOS call is automatically initiated. Once the call is terminated, Apple Watch sends a message to the emergency contacts that were previously registered, indicating that he detected a dangerous fall and that the emergency services were sighted. At this point, the emergency contacts are recovered from the clinical folder, and falls are automatically recorded in the Health app.
It is undeniable that, in the health field, Apple Watch technology has helped several users. And, perhaps, the spotlight (often) focused on Cupertino, can be a further stimulus to allow experts to develop and improve their own (salvage) technology above.