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How Smartwatches Work


How Smartwatches Work

The smartwatch market is rapidly evolving. The strong growth of these devices can be attributed to their ability to track fitness activities. However, how these devices work is still a mystery for most people.  So, let’s take a look at how smartwatches sense and accurately report activities.

Operating System and Compatibility with Smartphones

Smartwatches function through an operating system (OS) that allows them to be connected to smartphones. The different types of OS determine the devices’ compatibility with smartphones. Luckily, there are a lot of smartwatches with a proprietary OS that is compatible with iPhones and Android phones to some degree.

Smartwatch Hardware

Hardware features are also critical to the function of these fitness wearables. These devices are equipped with RAM, which allows you to install apps and store data. Some smartwatches also have a speaker and microphone that allows you to receive notification alerts and make and receive calls without taking your phone. Some also have a sim slot; hence, they allow you to make calls even when they are not connected to your phone. Smartwatches also come with a battery that powers them. However, these batteries do not last too long; thus, frequent charging is required.

Sensor Features

Depending on the brand, price range, and preferences, a smartwatch comes with a range of sensors to help you track your fitness activities. Most come with light sensors, which help adjust the brightness level depending on the surrounding light. Most are also installed with 3 axis accelerometers to detect movement, gravity, and body’s direction. Others also have altimeters, which sense when the user is climbing slopes or going down stairs. This sensor also helps in counting calories burnt.

The optical heart rate sensor is also common in smartwatches. This sensor measures heartbeat per minute by checking the wrist’s speed of blood flow.  The bioimpedance sensor is also common in smartwatches and helps to track sleep and respiratory rate. Most of these fitness wearables also have proximity sensors that help to save battery as it ensures that the display is only lit when the user is near and wants to use the device.

GPS is also an essential sensor in these devices. It helps to track the location of your device, level of activity, and how much the user has walked or ran. A gyroscope is also installed in most smartwatches and is used to detect the angular velocity of motion. Other sensors that may be present in these devices include a magnetometer that supports the GPS and compass in determining the exact coordinates of your location and gesture sensors to detect wrist motion and instruct these fitness wearables to do certain activities when moved in a certain way.


Smartwatches are quickly becoming an essential fitness partner. This can be attributed to their ability to measure fitness parameters. This capability is attributed to their hardware, operating system, and sensor’s advanced functioning.

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