WHOOP Files Patent for Pressure Strap: Is Hypoxic Training Coming?
WHOOP, a leader in the data-driven wearable technology sector, quietly filed an innovative patent a couple years ago, successfully avoiding any significant media attention.
The patent, titled Pressure Sensitive Strap for Wearable Electronics, introduces a cutting-edge approach to measuring and managing oxygenation level and/or hemoglobin concentrations, hinting at the potential of blood flow restriction training or hypoxic training.
WHOOP files patent for pressure strap
In a strategic move to advance their wearable device line, WHOOP has filed a patent for a pressure-sensitive strap, a new device that could help them standout from competitors in the wearable space.
What We Know
WHOOP’s recent patent filing unveils an intriguing development – something that we haven’t seen yet in consumer wearables – hypoxic training capabilities.
Here are the key points we’ve gathered so far:
- Pressure-Sensitive Strap: The patent describes a strap capable of measuring various pressure levels, influencing the wearable’s data accuracy.
- Muscle Oxygenation and Hemoglobin Monitoring: It focuses on tracking critical muscle parameters, including oxygenation levels and hemoglobin concentrations.
- Adaptable for Different Environments: The strap is designed to function optimally in various conditions, including water and high-humidity scenarios, which aligns with other WHOOP straps.
How It May Work
The patent gives us a glimpse into the future of WHOOP’s plans:
- Pressure and Tension Sensing: The strap is equipped with sensors that measure the pressure and tension when the device is worn. This includes both solid and liquid state sensors for diverse measurement capabilities.
- Data Collection and Display: The device is designed to take measurements at different times, providing users with real-time data on strap pressure or tension. This data is then displayed to the user, offering insights into how the strap’s pressure or tension affects the measurements.
- Heterogeneity Analysis: The multiple sensors in the strap can detect variations in pressure distribution across the strap. This allows for a detailed analysis of how evenly the pressure is applied to the tissue being monitored.
- Impact on Optical Measurements: The device can provide feedback on how the strap’s pressure affects the optical readings taken by the device, such as oxygenation levels in the muscles.
- Guidance for Exercise Intensity: The strap’s sensors can indicate whether the pressure level is suitable for certain types of exercises, particularly those requiring lower oxygen delivery, like hypoxic training.
- Real-time Feedback for Adjustments: The device can offer instant feedback to the user, enabling them to adjust the strap for optimal pressure during different activities or exercises.
Important! Language in the WHOOP patent primarily suggests that the strap will monitor pressure, rather than actively adjusting it. This strap may or may not act as a controllable pressure cuff. It is possible WHOOP intentionally worded it this way in order to not give away their plans for an adjustable pressure strap. Time will tell.
What Is Hypoxic Training and Blood Flow Restriction?
While they do overlap, it’s important to know the differences between hypoxic and blood flow restriction training.
Hypoxic training is a specialized exercise method where the body, or parts of it, are subjected to lower oxygen levels.
This training simulates high-altitude conditions and is often used by athletes to enhance their aerobic capacity and endurance, which is why it is popular in sports like swimming, or running.
The idea is to adapt the body to efficiently utilize oxygen, thereby improving overall athletic performance.
Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training, on the other hand, involves the use of bands or cuffs to apply strategic pressure to limb extremities, limiting blood flow to and from specific muscle groups during exercise.
This restriction creates a local environment within the muscles that can accelerate growth and strength gains, even with low-intensity workouts.
It’s increasingly popular for rehabilitation and for athletes looking to gain muscle without heavy weight lifting.
When will WHOOP announce their pressure strap?
Currently, there is no official release date for WHOOP’s pressure strap. Some users are wondering if the new pressure sensor strap will be branded as the WHOOP 5.0, which is expected to be released in by the end of 2024. But the answer is unclear.
It is more likely that WHOOP will announce this device separately from the next-gen WHOOP strap line.
Patents often lead to product developments, but the timeline from filing a patent to launching a product can vary, which is why we haven’t seen this come to light yet, despite it being years since the patent was filed.
It’s important to note that a patent filing does not always guarantee a product release. The information shared in this article is based on the patent filed by WHOOP and serves for informational purposes.
What does this mean for you?
- More Accurate Fitness Data: The new strap design can measure how tightly it’s worn. This means it could give you more precise data about your body’s fitness metrics like muscle oxygen levels.
- Personalized Workout Adjustments: With real-time pressure data, you might be able to tailor your workouts better. The strap could tell you if you’re pushing too hard or not enough, based on how your muscles are reacting.
- Enhanced Training Techniques: For those into advanced training methods like hypoxic training, which involves training with limited oxygen, this strap could be a game-changer. It’ll help monitor and adjust the intensity of your workouts.
- Consistent Monitoring: The new technology aims to provide consistent readings, so your fitness tracking won’t be thrown off by how the strap is worn.
- Durability and Versatility: Designed to withstand various environments, this strap could be ideal for all kinds of physical activities, whether you’re at the gym, swimming, or on a mountain trail.
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by Ken Lynch
Ken is a Technologist, Healthcare Data Analyst, and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.