Garmin teams up with Stanford, Duke to track symptoms, outbreaks of COVID-19

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s a good chance your smartwatch knows you’re exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 before you do.

And now, some of the brightest minds in the nation are teaming up with Garmin to mine the data of wearable technology to better understand the virus.

Garmin is working with Duke and Stanford universities to figure out the warning signs that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

“These researchers are going to look at all of this biosensor data, and they’re going to see if they can tell when you’re getting sick as a way to kind of predict what’s going on,” said Scott Burgett with Garmin.

Some clues that Garmin could pick up from an otherwise asymptomatic person include oddities with resting heart rate, breathing, body temperature and even something Garmin refers to as your “body battery.”

“Sometimes before people actually know they’re sick, they will see their body battery discharge, and it will stay discharged,” Burgett explained. “We see this over and over again amongst ourselves.”

Michael Snyder with Stanford University said the research could very well save lives.

“Two thirds of the time, we can tell when someone’s getting ill before or at the time of symptoms,” Snyder said. “And we just think that’s super powerful. That means two thirds of the time you can tell people to stay home. Don’t go out, infect other people.”

If you are interesting in participating in the study, visit this link for more information.

Garmin assures participants that data will only be shared with explicit permission from users.

For his part, Burgett is thrilled to play some small role in a landmark study that could have major implications.

“It’s really exciting that devices that are designed right here in Kansas City are super important in fighting this,” he said.

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