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Fitness trackers versus chest strap for heart rate monitoring

Measuring beats per minute using different sensors

July 15, 2019 -

With modern wearables, smartwatches and fitness bands, it has become easy and common to measure your heart rate. There are however fundamental differences in sensor types. Some sensors capture the electrical signal from your heart while others use light to analyse the blood flowing through your vessels. If you're interested in measuring heart rate, it's good to understand these differences.

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Heart rate monitor in hospital uses electrode pads to capture the heart's electric activity
Heart rate monitor in hospital uses electrode pads to capture the heart's electric activity
Biostrap features an optical sensor, located at the center, right between two LED's
Biostrap features an optical sensor, located at the center, right between two LED's
Conductive pads in the chest strap work in a similar way as the heart rate monitor in hospitals
Conductive pads in the chest strap work in a similar way as the heart rate monitor in hospitals
Heart rate data using different sensors, the workout was captured (in detail, bottom graph) with a chest strap while the hours afterwards with an optical sensor
Heart rate data using different sensors, the workout was captured (in detail, bottom graph) with a chest strap while the hours afterwards with an optical sensor
Apple Watch has an optical heart rate sensor, cleary visible in the middle of the underside
Apple Watch has an optical heart rate sensor, cleary visible in the middle of the underside

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AppleDataHealthHeartSensorsSportWatch