Duke Biomedical Engineers Find Heart Rate Measurements of Wearable Monitors Vary by Activity, Not Skin Color

Picture from story showing doctoral candidate Brinnae Bent and Duke Big Ideas Lab director Jessilyn Dunn at work on a project.

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that while different wearable technologies, like smart watches and fitness trackers, can accurately measure heart rate across a variety of skin tones, the accuracy between devices begins to vary wildly when they measure heart rate during different types of everyday activities. The study results appear online on February 10 in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine.