Whoop Fitness Band exploring Tissue Oxygen saturation detection and monitoring

Whoop Tissue oxygen saturation level monitoring

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 in delivering personalized fitness insights for both beginner athletes and elite athletes such as Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for Kansas City Chiefs.

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Recovery with real-time data 

The current Whoop 3.0 fitness band helps users get personalized fitness, sleep, and recovery data in real-time.

Although many other smartwatch and fitness band makers offer fitness and sleep monitoring-related information, Whoop stands apart from the pack when it comes to providing you with the best information about ‘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.

Whoop investigates how oxygen and hemoglobin impact performance & aerobic and anaerobic processes.

Based on a patent, 10799162, the company is pursuing novel approaches to detect oxygenation and hemoglobin concentrations in muscle and tissues.Whoop Tissue oxygen saturation monitoring

The key idea behind this initiative has 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, especially when exercised, require oxygen for energy production, and therefore SmO.sub.2 is a parameter that encapsulates the muscle’s metabolic state. 

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 bloodstream. 

Whoop leads the way with personalized data-based activity recommendations.

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 Strain Coach with Muscle oxygen saturation monitoring

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 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.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.

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