ORLANDO, Fla. - There are tens of millions of them out there: Fitbits, Applewatches, Garmins -- all keeping track of your steps, your heart rate, and even your body temperature.
Dr. Michael Snyder is a professor of genetics at Stanford University, whose affinity for fitness led to what could be groundbreaking work in health.
"Everyone is just using them as fitness trackers and we're thinking you know these are really good physiological monitors we should really be following them for peoples health," he said.
Dr. Snyder discovered that among the millions of measurements they make every day, subtle variances in a Fitbit's data could be a predictor of an oncoming illness.
"So when you get ill a lot of these things go off. Your heart rate goes up.Your temp goes up and it turns out we think that a lot of these things happen before you actually realize it. Before you're congested and stuff."
And in today's coronavirus climate, being ahead of a sickness could mean the difference between life and death.
"Even if we can't tell it's COVID-19 vs. the common cold, that's still seems pretty important."
But to make that possible, massive amounts of biometric data provided by thousands of volunteers will need to be broken down and hopefully turned ino an accurate predictor of an oncoming illness. It's work that's being done right now and Dr. Snyder is pushing the number crunching.
"Believe it or not we want to have an impact right now if we can. We think we can get these algorithms trained very very quickly in a week or two."
The goal being to create a warning system -- not just for the crisis we're facing now, but for years to come.
"The overall goal is to help human health."
To be a part of the study, visit https://innovations.stanford.edu/ .