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Former Google+ chief is now selling Apple Watch band heart monitors

Former Google+ chief is now selling Apple Watch band heart monitors

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The Kardia Band is an Apple Watch accessory designed to look after your heart, containing a nickel-sized sensor that alerts users to abnormal heart rhythms. It's the latest product from AliveCor, a startup that's built a similar (FDA-approved) sensor for smartphones, and that's run by Vic Gundotra, the former head of Google+. Gundotra — who was once told to stop tweeting after making a jibe about rival companies — joined the company last November, poaching a pair of Googlers soon after to look after AliveCor's software and hardware.

The company's new product, the Kardia Band, doesn't yet have a release date or a price, but could be notable as the first Apple Watch accessory to get FDA approval. According to a report from Recode, the software that AliveCor uses to produce its electrocardiogram data (an ECG) has been given the thumbs up by the federal agency, but the Band itself is still awaiting approval. Gundotra, though, is confident it will pass. "AliveCor sits on the other side of the FDA line," he told Recode. "We are not a fitness product. This is not a toy. We’re talking about people’s lives."

The Kardia Band can alert users to abnormal rhythms. (Image credit: AliveCor)

With this in mind, the Kardia Band isn't aimed at fitness enthusiasts who want to watch their heartbeat while out running, but individuals with heart problems, or who might be at risk of a stroke. The ECG data is key to this, helping detect abnormal rhythms such as atrial fibrillation (AF). Users can be alerted when problems occur, and are given the option of recording a voice memo (to describe symptoms and conditions) that can then be sent to their doctor alongside the ECG data. If the KardiaBand is approved by the FDA, it'll be a step forward for the credibility of such connected devices, which have an uneven reputation when it comes to accuracy.