Measurement of Heart Rate Using the Withings ScanWatch Device during Free-Living Activities: A Validation Study

Oonagh Giggins, Julie Doyle, Suzanne Smith, Daniel R Crabtree, Matthew James Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Wrist-worn devices that incorporate photoplethysmography (PPG) sensing represent an exciting means of measuring heart rate (HR). A number of studies have evaluated the accuracy of HR measurements produced by these devices in controlled laboratory environments. However, it is also important to establish the accuracy of measurements produced by these devices outside of the laboratory, in real-world, consumer use conditions.
Objective: This study sought to examine the accuracy of HR measurements produced by the Withings ScanWatch during free-living activities.
Methods: A sample of convenience of seven participants volunteered (three male, four female; age: 64 ± 10 years; height: 164 ± 4 cm; weight: 77 ± 16 kg) to take part in this real-world validation study. Participants were instructed to wear the ScanWatch for a 12-hour period on their non-dominant wrist as they went about their day-to-day activities. A Polar H10 heart rate sensor was used as the criterion measure of HR. Participants used a study diary to document activities undertaken during the 12-hour study period. Activities undertaken during the 12-hour period were classified according to the 11 following domains: desk work; eat/drink; exercise; gardening; household activities; self-care; shopping; sitting; sleep; travel; - walking. Validity was assessed using the Bland-Altman analysis, concordance correlation coefficient (CCC), and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE).
Results: Across all activity domains, the ScanWatch measured HR with MAPE values of <10%, except for the shopping activity domain (MAPE = 10.8%). The activity domains which were more sedentary in nature (Deskwork, Eat/Drink and Sitting) produced the most accurate HR measurements with a small mean bias and MAPE values of <5%. Moderate to strong correlations (CCC = .526 - .783) were observed between devices for all activity domains, except during the walking activity domain which demonstrated a weak correlation (CCC = .164) between devices.
Conclusions: The results of this study show that the ScanWatch measures HR with a degree of accuracy that is acceptable for general consumer use, however it would not be suitable in circumstances where more accurate measurements of HR are required, e.g. in healthcare or in clinical trials. Overall, the ScanWatch was less accurate at measuring HR during ambulatory activities (e.g. walking, gardening, and household activities) compared to more sedentary activities (e.g. deskwork, eat/drink and sitting). Further larger scale studies examining this device in different populations and during different activities are required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e34280
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • heart rate
  • photoplethysmography
  • wearable electronic device
  • wrist-worn device
  • validation study


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