Wearables in Research: More Affordable Than You Think

Wearables in Research: More Affordable Than You Think

Although technology is often associated with high costs, using wearables in research can actually be quite cost-effective. We explain the top three reasons why in this article.

Apr 26, 2022
By The Labfront Team
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Affordability of Wearables

We’ve heard from a few of our current research partners that they used to associate wearables with exorbitant prices–one even went so far as to say she would walk right by booths at conferences because she assumed they weren’t accessible for her budget. But even though wearable devices can range dramatically in price, there are a few reasons why incorporating them in your research can actually be cost-effective.

Lower Device Cost

With medical devices such as EKGs or EEGs, costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Smartwatches are extremely affordable by comparison.  And the even better news is that the price of a consumer wearable does not directly affect the quality of data where a health researcher is concerned. For example, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 costs a reasonable $130 USD at the time of this article (April 2022). Yet it still packs enough power to collect sophisticated measures such as interbeat interval data with its PPG sensor, allowing researchers to capture each individual heartbeat. 

Wondering how a Vivosmart 4 compares to other heart rate monitors?  We were too, so our talented data scientists ran an experiment to test the heart rate accuracy of the device against the Polar H10. They concluded that they would be comfortable using it for measuring heart rate throughout the course of the day. They did note, however, that PPG tends to give noisier HR during more physically active motion. 

No need for data scientists

Using a third-party platform like Labfront saves you from needing to pay for a data scientist. The data is organized neatly for you already, in readable CSV files, and is compatible with standard research tools like Excel or MatLab. 

If you do want a data scientist to run additional analytics, you don’t need to go out of your way to find, hire and manage one.  Instead, you can customize your reports and use Labfront’s fast, transparent and reliable data science team for support.  This can save you a ton of time, as it did with Dr. Ann Hsing from Stanford, who credited the analytics team with saving her team at least a year’s worth of work. 

 “The conscientious and hardworking Labfront analysts derived data that would have taken over a year otherwise.” - Dr. Ann Hsing

Remote monitoring

With Labfront’s centralized participant management dashboard, you can save time and money on research assistant support. You can run part–or all– of your study remotely, not only allowing you to capture real-world (EMA) data, but also saving time and money for participants as well as yourself from going to and from the lab. 

What’s more - unlike in traditional research which only allows measurements and adherence to study protocols to be evaluated intermittently, our platform enables remote, 24/7 data streaming which makes it possible to monitor the data in real-time and intervene if necessary. This saves you from the costly problem of having missing data. 

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At Labfront, we firmly believe that you should be able to conduct your research without cost being a barrier.  Now that you've seen just how affordable this type of research can be, head on over to Labfront.com to get started for free!

Last medically reviewed on
Oct 18, 2022
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