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Asus' VivoWatch BP takes your blood pressure in 15 seconds

Asus is taking the tension out of hypertension.

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The Asus VivoWatch BP in action.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The future of wearables is here, and if you think it's all about step-counting, you're a step behind. 

Asus is taking its focus on health beyond pure pedometry to give you a more detailed picture of what's going on inside your body, with a blood pressure tracking watch that it claims is a world first. (Rival Omron announced a blood pressure watch at CES in January but that's due later in the year -- no word yet on when the VivoWatch will be available). 

Unveiled at Computex in Taipei on Tuesday, the VivoWatch BP is a smartwatch capable of measuring your blood pressure in as little as 15 seconds, without the need for a bulky device or an inflated cuff like you'd see at the doctor's surgery. Hold your index finger on the front of the watch and moments later you'll get a reading.  

Now playing: Watch this: Asus VivoWatch BP puts a medical-grade blood pressure...
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The VivoWatch BP app tracks your health data over time. 

Claire Reilly/CNET

In our demo, it took about 23 seconds to get a reading -- but it still felt a lot quicker than sitting in the doctor's surgery while you wait for that inflated cuff to let the blood back into your arm. I've also waited that long on lower-end wearables just to get a heartrate measurement. 

The VivoWatch BP works by combining a medical-grade ECG sensor on the back (on your wrist) to read your heart rate with an optical PPG sensor on the face of the watch to read your blood flow in your index finger. The result gives you your upper and lower systolic and diastolic numbers, as well as your heart rate. I got a healthy 121 over 77, thank you for asking. 

The VivoWatch BP also has an accompanying app which Asus says will help users track and improve their health by charting blood pressure, fitness and sleep data; the app also features what Asus calls "HealthAI" to offer recommendations to improve your lifestyle. The app looked like more standard fitness tracking fare in the short time I had to play with it -- just how much genuine artificial intelligence is built into tracking and predicting your health remains to be seen. 

Key Specs

  • "Medical-grade" ECG sensor (rear) and optical PPG sensor (front) measure blood pressure in 15-25 seconds

  • 28-day battery life in normal mode

  • Measures and tracks heart rate, sleep quality and fitness/activity 

  • HealthAI correlates blood pressure with other "life data" to provide suggestions for better health

  • Accompanying app tracks data for sharing with medical professionals

The VivoWatch is a sign of Asus' big ambitions in wearables and goals outside its traditional laptop wheelhouse. While the early smartwatch era was all about tracking your run and making sure you reached that elusive "10,000 steps per day" figure, the next generation of wearable tech is going further to monitor your health, and Asus wants to lead the way. 

Check out CNET's full coverage of Computex here.

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