Etri standardises wearable health tests

  • April 29, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson
Jeon Jonghong.

The Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (Etri) has published international standards for testing the accuracy of health management functions, such as step counting and heart rate monitoring, in wearable devices.

This initiative has created a global common criterion for evaluating measurement accuracy in wearable devices.

The publication of these international standards is expected to set quality criteria and improve measurement accuracy, which will contribute to enhancing public health and should stimulate the related equipment and service industries.

The international standards are the IEC’s test methods for step counting and heart rate measurement. They contain the methods and procedures for testing the measurement accuracy of fitness wearable devices that offer step counting and heart rate monitoring functions.

The research team pointed out that although more than 500 million wearable devices such as smart bands, watches and rings are sold annually for health management, there have been no standardised test methods for the accuracy of basic physical activity measurements such as step counting and heart rate monitoring. This made it impossible to compare performance and accuracy objectively.

South Korea-based Etri, in collaboration with domestic companies, embarked on developing standards for testing the accuracy of step counting and heart rate monitoring. The research, which began in 2019, led to the proposal of international standards and culminated in their final publication.

Etri can now set performance criteria for wearable devices used in health management, and manufacturers can officially present the results of performance verification tested according to international standards. This is expected to expand the global wearable industry and stimulate the related testing, evaluation and certification markets.

Etri is working on standardising features such as sleep monitoring and diagnosis of sleep disorders applications, wearable applications combined with artificial intelligence technology, and wearable electroencephalogram applications. It has thus proposed the formation of a working group, with Etri’s Jeon Jonghong serving as chair, to drive these standardisation efforts.

Etri’s assistant vice president of standards Lee Seung-Yoon said it was of “great significance that our country has led the publication of two key standards for performance testing of core health management functions applicable to all wearable devices”.

Park Jae-Young from Kwangwoon University added: “Since the biggest application area for wearable devices is in healthcare and wellness, we will further strengthen the development and cooperation of international standards, focusing on healthcare wearables.”

Based on these achievements, Etri plans to continue collaborating with domestic industry, academia, research and medical experts to establish international standards for health management areas, such as wearable device sleep monitoring and diagnosis applications.

Etri ( is a non-profit government-funded research institute. Since its foundation in 1976, it has been helping South Korea grow in the field of ICT industry.