The Apple Watch may have been initially perceived as a luxury device but it appears that the company now wants it to be considered as a serious medical device. According to a new report, Apple is developing an advanced heart-monitoring feature that may be included in future versions of the Apple Watch. The report claims that Apple is developing an EKG monitor for its smartwatch.

Electrocardiogram or EKG is a test that’s normally performed using multiple electrodes that are placed directly on the skin. The machine monitors electrical patterns in between heartbeats. These patterns or signals are used to detect heart defects, abnormalities, and other indicators of cardiovascular illness.

Bloomberg reports that a version being tested requires users to squeeze the smartwatch’s frame with two fingers from the hand that they’re not wearing the Apple Watch on. The EKG monitor then passes an imperceptible current across the user’s chest to track electrical signals in the heart and figure out if there are any abnormalities.

The EKG tests conducted in hospitals, ambulances, and doctor’s offices only monitor the heart’s activity for a short period of time. This limits their ability to spot potential abnormalities. There are wearable medical devices as well that track the heart for a few days. Putting one inside a smartwatch will make it easier for people to live with one on a daily basis.

The report mentions that the development process is still ongoing and that Apple could decide not to include the technology in future products. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the report.

Filed in Apple >Gadgets. Read more about and .

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