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Understanding ActiLife Heart Rate Functionality and Data (Bluetooth and ANT+ Wireless)

Last Updated: Jun 19, 2017 08:50AM CDT

ActiLife v6.8.1 and later combined with our wGT3X-BT can integrate with our Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor to produce heart rate data (GT9X Link can be used with ActiLife v6.11.5 and greater).
 

Collecting Bluetooth Heart Rate Data

Heart rate data is captured from the Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor chest strap and is transmitted in real time to your wGT3X-BT or GT9X Link device. In order to capture heart rate data, you must first initialize the device to collect heart rate data. To initialize your device to integrate with your heart rate monitor, simply check the "Enable Wireless" and "Heart Rate" options under the Wireless Options settings when Initializing.
 




The device will automatically pair via Bluetooth with the first heart strap that it detects, and will lock to that heart strap. Simply wear your device and heart rate strap, and they will collect data together.

Note: If the device loses connection with the heart strap, it will begin searching immediately for another one. If no heart strap is detected, the device will wait 15, 30, and then 60 seconds, scanning at each of these increments. If no heart straps are detected after those periods, the device will search for nearby heart straps once every 2 minutes. This method helps mitigate excessive drain on the device battery if the heart strap is no longer present.


 

Downloading Bluetooth Heart Rate Data


Connect your device to the computer running ActiLife and download the data. An *.agd file can be created at time of download. Be sure to check the "Create AGD File" and "HR" options during download to ensure that the raw Heart Rate data collected on your device gets exported to the *.agd file for use in ActiLife.

Alternatively, you can create a new *.agd file with heart rate after downloading by finding the raw *.gt3x file associated and double clicking on it to open it within ActiLife, or by clicking File > Import/Export/Convert > (Raw to Epoch) .GT3X into .AGD/.DAT/.CSV.

If you use either of these methods, make sure the "Heart Rate" option is checked.

Now that the *.agd has been downloaded with HR data included, you can view basic HR information by opening an *.agd file within your File Explorer (double-click), or by clicking File > Open AGD File in ActiLife. In the AGD File Viewer, you can see a Heart Rate column with basic Beats Per Minute data.



To export more detailed information, we will need to extract the HR data.

Extracting Bluetooth Heart Rate Data

 

To extract more detailed heart rate data (R-to-R values), either:

A) Select the "Heart Rate R-R" option from the File->Import/Export menu in ActiLife




B) Select "Export Heart Rate R-R" from the AGD File Viewer export menu as shown below 



Viewing Bluetooth R-to-R Heart Rate Data


The Bluetooth R-R heart rate data can be examined in Microsoft Excel. There are three columns:
  • Timestamp
  • Heart Rate
  • RR Interval in seconds
Here is a sample of how the Bluetooth exports are formatted:

 

More technical information can be found at Bluetooth's official documentation on Heart Rate




***The below information is only relevant to our older wGT3X+ models that use ANT+ wireless. If you are not using these model devices, disregard the following information***

ActiLife 6.5 and later combined with wGT3X+ devices running firmware 3.0 or newer are capable of providing measurements of Heart Rate R-to-R intervals.  

Collecting ANT+ Heart Rate Data

Heart rate data is captured from the wireless ANT+ enabled heart rate chest strap and is transmitted in real time to the wGT3X+. In order to capture heart rate data, the following must occur:

     1. Initialize a wGT3X+. Be sure to enable "ANT+ Wireless" and "Heart Rate". Setting a PIN code is optional. The PIN code is required when communicating with the wGT3X+ from one of ActiGraph's mobile applications. ***Support has ceased for these applications***

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init-hr.png

     2. Position the ANT+ enabled heart rate strap around the chest area. Instructions for wearing the heart rate strap are available here.

     3. Wear the wGT3X+ and the heart strap for the desired amount of time.

Note: The wGT3X+ will pair over the ANT+ wireless channel with the first heart strap that it detects and will lock to that heart strap. If the wGT3X+ loses connection with the heart strap, it will begin searching immediately for another one. If no heart strap is detected, the wGT3X+ will wait 15, 30, and then 60 seconds, scanning at each of these increments. If no heart straps are detected after those periods, the wGT3X+ will search for nearby heart straps once every 2 minutes. This method helps mitigate excessive drain on the battery if the heart strap is no longer present.
 

Downloading ANT+ Activity and Heart Rate Data

  1. Connect the wGT3X+ to the computer running ActiLife and download the data.  The *.agd file can be created at time of download. Be sure to check the "HR" option during download to ensure that the raw Heart Rate data collected on the wGT3X+ gets exported to the *.agd file for use in ActiLife.

Download.png
  • Alternatively, the *.agd file can be created after download by clicking "finished downloading" from the device list or later by simply opening the raw *.gt3x file that is generated at time of download.

The resulting *.agd file will contain basic beats per minute data for each epoch. This can be viewed by opening the *.agd file in ActiLife (simply double-click on the *.agd file).  

Heart.png


Extracting ANT+ R-to-R Heart Rate Data

  1. To extract more detailed heart rate data (R-to-R values), either a) select the "Heart Rate R-R" option from the File->Import/Export menu in ActiLife or b) select "Export Heart Rate R-R" from the AGD File Viewer export menu as shown below 


RtoR.png        OR        rr.png

Select the *.agd file that contains the heart rate data you wish to examine. A *.csv file will be created in the same directory.

Understanding ANT+ R-to-R Heart Rate Data

The ANT+ R-to-R heart rate data can be examined in Microsoft Excel®. There are three columns:

  • Timestamp - the long date and time (with millisecond resolution) at which a heart beat was detected
  • Time since last beat (milliseconds) - the number of milliseconds since the last beat
  • Beat count - A consecutive beat counter that resets at 255.  This helps when examining missing beats.
 
To view the Timestamp at millisecond resolution in MS Excel, right-click on the Timestamp column and choose "Format Cells..".  Select the "Number" tab and choose the "Custom" option.  Set the format to m/d/yyyy h:mm:s.000 and click "OK."  This will set the Timestamp column to display the timestamp down to the millisecond resolution.
 
An ANT+ sample file containing R-to-R data can be downloaded here.
 

How Heart Rate Data is Captured

The ANT+ heart strap polls the wearer's heart at a rate of approximately 4Hz. Each sample is transmitted to the wGT3X+ and is stored upon receipt.

 

If you need any further assistance, please visit our support portal at https://help.theactigraph.com/home. From there, you can view many helpful FAQ's and Troubleshooting Articles; log in to check any existing Support Requests; or create a new Support Ticket if you are unable to find a solution. You can also email us at support@theactigraph.com or give us a call at (877) 497-6996, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm CST.

 
 

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