If there is one feature that took the wearables industry by storm this year, it was the addition of Blood Oxygen saturation level monitoring. While all the major wearable makers including Apple, Samsung, Garmin and Fitbit have been busy incorporating SpO2 monitoring, Whoop, a leading fitness wearable maker is considering expanding into the area of monitoring tissue oxygen saturation and using it to bolster its leadership in recovery science.
Whoop Fitness is a leader when it comes to delivering personalized fitness insights for both beginner athletes as well as elite athletes such as Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for Kansas City Chiefs.
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The current Whoop 3.0 fitness band helps users in getting personalized fitness, sleep and recovery data in real-time. Although there are many other smartwatch and fitness band makers that offer fitness and sleep monitoring related information, Whoop stands apart from the pack when it comes to providing you with the best information as it pertains to ‘Recovery’.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is just not a number when you are a Whoop user. Whoop offers personalized recommendations, has a built in Strain coach and offers various ways in which you can stay fit, reduce your resting heart-rate, increase your HRV and more importantly train with fewer injuries.
To that end, Whoop is now exploring how they can add in tissue oxygen saturation monitoring as a future offering to their users.
Based on a patent that was approved yesterday, 10799162, the company is pursuing novel approaches to detect oxygenation level and hemoglobin concentrations in muscle and tissues.
The key idea behind this initiative is having the ability to access physical performance and understand how the muscle is utilizing aerobic and anaerobic processes.
Oxygen is required for cells to produce energy in a process called oxidative phosphorylation. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen molecules for transport from the lungs to all tissues and exists in two states, oxygenated and deoxygenated.
Oxygen saturation (SO.sub.2) denotes the percentage of oxygenated hemoglobin out of the total present hemoglobin. Muscle oxygenation (SmO.sub.2) is the term used here to indicate the oxygen saturation in the muscle.
Muscles at any time, and especially when exercised, require oxygen for energy production, and therefore SmO.sub.2 is a parameter that encapsulates the metabolic state of the muscle.
Specifically, it describes how much oxygen is present in the muscle and when oxygen consumption exceeds the supply.
Lactic acid build-up in the blood is an indirect measurement of oxygen deficits after a muscle was in an anaerobic state, as anaerobic glycolysis results in the excretion of lactate into the blood stream.
The current Strain Coach functionality in Whoop 3.0 provides an activity level recommendation for you at any point during the day based on your recovery. When you start an activity, WHOOP will then show you in real-time whether you need to push harder, whether you’ve reached your Strain goal, or whether you’re overdoing it.
Whoop’s Recovery science today is based primarily on three major metrics. They use the Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and your Sleep metrics to calculate a Recovery Score.
If and when the company adds functionality to detect and monitor hemoglobin levels and oxygen saturation levels in muscle and tissues, it will easily be able to detect any built up of Lactic acid and engage the user via Strain Coach to adjust their training accordingly.
This Patent was originally filed by Whoop in 2018 and was approved this week.
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