Continuous heart rate monitoring with custom alerts-- how?
December 8, 2015 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Here's what I want: wearable tech that will continuously monitor my heart rate without needing to charge for 6+ hours at a time. Software connected to that monitor, either internally or through my Nexus 6, that will alert me, subtly, when my BPM exceeds a specific number that I choose. And I want it for $120 or less, preferably less. Can you help me find and/or make the hardware and software I'll need?
posted by dee lee to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like the FitBit Charge HR will do what you want, has heart rate zones, and the battery lasts five days, although it's $150.
posted by bluecore at 8:28 PM on December 8, 2015

There are many cheap chest strap BLE heart rate monitors -- mine was $30. They effectively never need charging since BLE is extremely efficient (like 1 year battery life). Lots of phone apps can read it and alert you. Downside is that it's a chest strap, but they are generally more accurate than a wrist monitor anyway, and much cheaper.
posted by miyabo at 8:31 PM on December 8, 2015

Response by poster: I don't intend to threadsit, but I do kind of feel like I left my question incomplete or unclear.

What I want this for:
I have social anxiety. I have techniques for managing or alleviating that anxiety. I also have a near-complete inability to recognize that I am beginning to panic and apply those techniques in the moment. So it'd be nice to have an external monitor of an anxiety indicator.

I have some programming ability and am willing to tinker. I know there are many devices that do similar things and probably some that do exactly what I'm looking for. I need help finding the specific devices and programs that will do exactly what I'm looking for. It's entirely possible that is (I mean this genuinely) too much to ask, but I'm hoping someone here will have special knowledge that I do not.
posted by dee lee at 8:59 PM on December 8, 2015

Best answer: I haven't found an app that does what you're asking, but if you're willing to do some software development, I'd start with a cheap chest-strap BLE monitor as recommended above, and some of the Android sample code. the chest strap will be more accurate and less likely to do things like record a 2x heart rate. (I've seen that occasionally with all of the wrist-based monitors I've tried).

Here's a BLE heart rate demo app which should be a good starting point. Combining that with the Android notifications API and you can have an app which vibrates or plays a sound on your phone based on the heart rate threshold you set.

For extra fun, if you want something more subtle, you could try integrating Android Wear notifications. I'm not sure if you need an Android Wear device to receive these notifications - if so, cheapest I've seen is $100, which would blow your budget. Other cheaper watches can receive notification of messages or phone calls, but that may be it - further research needed...
posted by dttocs at 9:33 PM on December 8, 2015

The Charge HR, at least on its own, will not alert you when your heart rate spikes. Possibly there's something you can do to it that would make it work that way.
posted by Stacey at 3:47 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just to warn you about the BLE chest strap heart rate monitors; the 1 year battery life is assuming about 3 hours of use per week. Assuming that you're wearing this 12+ hours a day, every day, I'd imagine you'd get closer to 2 weeks of battery life. Amazon is a great source of cheap coin cell batteries ; I got a 5 pack of size CR2032 for less than $6, and changing the batteries is instant recharge time. I'm not immediately aware of rechargable coin cell batteries.

for $2 AeroTrackerPro has a two options; one that does gps tracking and HRM, and one that just does HRM. It will vibrate at user adjustable heart rate zones. If you're just using AeroHRM battery life should be minimal. However, the vibration is via the Pebble Smart watch. A new Wahoo TICKR is $60 (and other's have said word of $30 other brands) - you can probably find a used Pebble via craigs list/kijiji for less than $60.
posted by nobeagle at 6:22 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just checked and the free Sport Gear Tracker android app can play a sound if your heart rate goes over a specified value. It's not intended for this purpose but it might work.
posted by miyabo at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2015

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