Today’s fitness trackers are primarily using optical wrist based sensors or chest straps used to collect heart rate data. It is probably not a surprise that other interesting insights around stress, fitness level, recovery and sleep quality can be derived from that information. What might grab your attention is that one small Finish company called Firstbeat has been licensing their heart rate technology to some of the largest fitness trackers in the industry such as Garmin, SUNNTO, Sony and Nokia for nearly twenty years. Firstbeat transforms heart rate data into over a dozen different contexts to provide health and fitness knowledge.
Once Firstbeat established a platform and well developed models they produced an enormous amount of studies and white papers explaining the meaningful data from their tools. Firstbeat has their own hardware and analysis tools they have used in several studies. The topics of the studies are applicable to real world situations. Here are a few examples:
Going back to 2004 Firstbeat has produced at least eight studies focused on oxygen consumption. Estimating maximum oxygen consumption (vo2max) by using their heart rate variability model is a core part of their licensing.