A new smartphone-based device that may replace Holter monitors and help athletes achieve endurance goals is under development at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Some dangerous heart arrhythmias can be hard to detect since they often comes and go, and so can be missed at the doctor’s office. Holter monitors have been used for decades to monitor the heart over extended periods of time, but they are bulky and inconvenient.
The new system straps on the chest of the user and sends ECG data over to an Android smartphone wirelessly over Bluetooth. A live chart can be examined and historical data can be passed to a cardiologist for review. Moreover, unlike the AliveCor and ECGCheck that are ECGs within an iPhone case, the form factor of the VTT device allows athletes to closely monitor their heartbeat during exercise, helping achieve goals while detecting arrhythmia that top end athletes can be subject to.
The device measures ECG signals at a sufficiently high sampling rate, identifies individual heart beats and counts the interval between consecutive beats. The device is also equipped with an accelerometer. The signals are sent to a smart phone via Bluetooth. The application displays ECG, heart rate and its variability. The signal from the accelerometer can also be used as a step counter.
Beat2Phone is the first device and software application developed for Android phones that can be used to measure and save an ECG and to perform an extensive analysis of the data. The device also enables an advanced heart rate analysis, and GPS-based speed and distance measurements. Compared to wristband devices, smart phones represent the best available user interface technology.
VTT: ECG into your mobile