Friday, May 1, 2015

Apple Watch Malfunctioning for People with Tattoos

The Apple Watch could be a great product for you....unless you have tattoos, that is. Apple is officially warning people who have tattoos that their Apple Watch might be having trouble getting reliable heart rate readings due to your ink. The company recently updated its Apple Watch support documents to note potential problems for some people with tattoos after people started complaining about it online.

According to the new document, "Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings."

When people are going through their workout the heart monitor on the Apple Watch uses a method known as photoplethysmography (PPG). This method shines a green light onto the skin and looks for the change in absorption that comes with each pulse. During regular activity the watch measures infrared light reflection. This is supposed to use less power than the green LEDs but if a wrist has too much heavy ink on it then the watch would have trouble shining a light through it.

The good news is that not all tattoos will cause a problem. iMore has tested several tattoos and discovered that solid red and black ink caused the biggest issues, causing extremely inaccurate readings and/or complete failures. Lighter colored ink only produced slight inaccuracies and it was also noted that patterned or variegated ink didn't seem to cause any problems at all.

This is important because fitness tracking is one of the main features of the Apple Watch. In addition to that, a recent report from Consumer Reports noted that the heart rate monitor is just as accurate as the group's highest-rated chest-worn monitor. Sure there are a ton of other reasons to buy the Apple Watch but just know that if you have tattoos you could experience some technical difficulties.

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Content originally published here

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