Smart watch

Personal Technologies

Grant Abt
Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Grant Abt

The Challenge

One in four adults and three in four adolescents do not currently meet the recommendations for physical activity set by the World Health Organisation, putting them at a 20-30% increased risk of early death.

The purpose of our research group is to understand how wearable personal technologies - such as smartwatches - can influence physical activity behaviour, as one component of a multifactorial solution to this global physical inactivity problem.

The Approach

Over the first three years, 2017-2019, we are conducting fundamental studies on the validity and reliability of key personal technology devices. Over the following three years, 2020-2022, we will conduct randomised controlled trials using a range of personal technologies.

Fitness tracker


  • To provide leadership and expertise in the area of fitness-related personal technologies across the institution, as well as nationally and internationally
  • To examine the efficacy and long-term effectiveness of personal technologies for increasing physical activity and creating physical activity behaviour change


Outputs and publications

Khushhal A, Nichols S, Evans W, et al, 'Validity and Reliability of the Apple Watch for Measuring Heart Rate During Exercise', Sports Medicine International Open, 1(06): E206–E211, DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-120195 (2017)

Abt G and Benson A C, 'Smartwatch technology for physical activity measurement and behaviour change: fabulous or fad?', The Sport and Exercise Scientist, 51, pp 20-21 (2017)

Simpson A J, Honkoop P J, Kennington E J, Snoeck-Stroband J B, East J, Coleman C, Caress A L, Chung K F, Sont J K, Usmani O S, Fowler S J, 'Perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals on mHealth for asthma self-management', European Respiratory Journal, 49: 1601966, DOI: 10.1183/13993003.01966-2016 (2017)

Honkoop P J, Simpson A J, Bonini M, Snoeck-Stroband J, Meah S, Chung K F, Usmani O S, Fowler S, Sont J K, 'MyAirCoach – The use of home-monitoring and mHealth systems to predict deterioration in asthma control and the occurrence of asthma exacerbations; study protocol of an observational study', British Medical Journal Open, DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013935 (2017)

Abt G, Bray J, Benson A C, 'The validity and inter-device variability of the Apple Watch for measuring maximal heart rate', Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(13), pp 1447–1452, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1397282 (2018)

Abt G, Bray J, Benson A C, 'Measuring Moderate-Intensity Exercise with the Apple Watch: Validation Study', JMIR Cardio, 2(1):e6, DOI: 10.2196/cardio.8574 (2018)

Research Students

Alaa Khushhal

The efficacy of wearable technology for use during cardiac rehabilitation

Dr Grant Abt, Prof Lee Ingle

Ash Warner

The effect of cadence-guided walking on measures of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness

Dr Grant Abt, Assoc Prof Amanda Benson


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