If you own a Fitbit Ionic, Versa, Versa Lite, Versa 2, and Charge 3, your wearable has a sensor it never used. Dubbed an SpO2 sensor, it can track the oxygen levels in your blood. But turning it on requires FDA approval, so you didn’t benefit from it. That is until now—Fitbit is rolling out the feature in waves to users.
For the uninitiated, SpO2 is a measurement of how much oxygen is in your blood—95 to 100 percent is considered normal. Fitbit, and other companies like Withings, have been working on incorporating sensors to measure your blood oxygen level into wearables with the goal of providing you with more health information.
The hope is that information could help with diagnosing health issues like asthma, sleep apnea, and heart disease. On its own, the sensor and data aren’t enough to go by, but you’d have more information for a doctor to examine.
In the future, we should see more and more devices adopt the sensor and enable blood oxygen tracking. Withings already promised the same feature for its upcoming ScanWatch—but that too will need FDA approval. And it’s worth noting that tracking blood oxygen levels and tracking a particular health issue, like sleep apnea, are still two different beasts and require individual approval from the FDA. This is a good start to that process.
But it’s good to see companies like Fitbit weather through the long approval process and deliver promised features.