High-Tech iPhone Case Is FDA-Approved EKG Monitor

High-Tech iPhone Case Is FDA-Approved EKG Monitor

Attachable device turns the iPhone 4 or 4S into a Class II heart monitor.

John Pugh, BI
  • 21 december 2012

What’s the nicest iPhone case you’ve ever seen? One with a nice screen-printed graphic? Something nearly indestructible, or perhaps one with a fancy camera lens? Well think again, because this one is sure to beat them all with its bells and whistles: A fully functional, FDA-approved heart monitor.

The AliveCor Heart Monitor is a $200 app and smartphone case combo that when held in your hands or pressed against your chest produces an EKG, those famous green blips that tell us whether a patient is going to live or die on hospital shows and movies. The case communicates wirelessly with the app, doesn’t require device pairing and sends patient data to a site that safely tracks and stores all EKG readings. Although there are many camera-based heart monitor apps already available, this is the only one that is up to federal and clinical standards, hence appropriate for actual medical use rather than casual wellness awareness. In development since 2010, the system had to pass several clinical trials under the FDA, one for the app and one for the case.

But why bother with FDA approval in the first place? Besides the legitimacy boost, it makes the iPhone case marketable to doctors who can actually use it to diagnose patients. Since traditional EGK machines are very expensive and bulky, the AliveCor system looks attractive as a mobile alternative. Furthermore, FDA approval also allows doctors to prescribe it for patients to take home. Problem is, the certified version only works for the iPhone 4 and 4S. Any system for the iPhone 5 or Android would require another time-consuming round of approvals.

Eventually AliveCor wants consumers to have access to high-grade medical devices of their own, part of their overall mission to put health in the hands of consumers. This iPhone case is meant to help patients understand health alongside their doctor, not to replace any existing measurements but rather deepen their understanding and insights to their own health.

Currently only available in pre-order for US medical professionals, this device could be revolutionary if made commercially available (AliveCor indicated an announcement regarding a consumer app in January). Because of its portability, patients could have their EKGs taken right away without being shuffled around a hospital. Outside of the clinic it would be enormously helpful for EMTs and paramedics, who could take readings on the streets or in homes. If a telecommunications ability were added it could help people reach emergency services after a dangerous reading.

Despite obstacles such as the FDA approval cycle and smartphones’ frequent updates, AliveCor is taking a strong step towards empowering consumers to be more aware about their health. If more complex medical devices are made so accessible and portable, it could save untold dollars and time spent waiting at hospitals for routine readings, and will empower patients to become more involved in their own health.


PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.



Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Innovation Yesterday

After The Initial Success Of AR Gaming, What Does The Future Hold?

With Pokemon GO earning up to $10m a day, R&D departments are busy searching for the next phase

Arts & Culture Yesterday

The Next Great Art Movement Will Come At The Swipe Of A Finger

An improved app, optimized digital display and monthly art discovery service round out Electric Objects' renewed commitment to democratizing the art world


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Retail Yesterday

A TV Streaming Service Is Designed Just For Kids

Toca TV is a new platform offering thousands of original and curated children's videos for a monthly subscription fee

Travel Yesterday

Bus Stop Transformed Into A Fitness Station For Commuters

Sports drink company Lucozade live-streamed an athletic trainer working out at a stop in Manchester to encourage travelers to get moving

Technology Yesterday

Shiseido And Microsoft Have Created A Makeup Filter For Women Who Telecommute

The Japanese cosmetic company built an augmented reality app that works alongside Skype for Business

Mobile Yesterday

Samsung Is Using AR To Help Beachgoers Stay Safe

Pocket Patrol utilizes a phone's camera to promote beach safety and educate people about hidden hazards

Design & Architecture Yesterday

500 Plastic Chairs Used To Create A Recyclable Pavilion

Design agency CODA built a grandoise art piece from simple lawn furniture


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 24, 2016

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Retail Yesterday

Exchange Your Old Razors For New Ones At This Bartershop

The subscription-based shaving company lets customers trade their unwanted razors for Harry's brand steel at a temporary New York pop-up

Food Yesterday

A Brewer Has Created The Most Expensive Chips To Snack On

St. Eriks Brewery created crisps made from rare mushrooms to go with its artisan beer, donating all proceeds to charity

Op-Ed Yesterday

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

Travel Yesterday

Melbourne Hotel Lets Guests Stay In Their Own Chrome Airstream Trailers

Notel is a luxury rooftop with six guest rooms made from vintage 1970s mobile homes

Infants Yesterday

Battery Powered Cradle Will Rock Itself

NoomiNoomi is a clever device that makes it easier to put babies to sleep

Sustainability Yesterday

Swedish Citizens Get A Tax Break For Repairing Old Goods

A sustainability initiative encourages people to fix, rather than replace, broken objects

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

How Precision Data Can Make Anyone A Better Performer

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytic tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Home Yesterday

You Can Now Buy Furniture From A Daytime TV Show

Home furnishing online retailer Wayfair is partnering with Lifetime to create a shoppable life improvement television program

No search results found.