Measuring someone’s heart rate is simple today – even a smartphone can do it. Just pick up your Samsung Galaxy S5 (it’s a four years old model), run S Health, put your finger on the camera, and wait – it will measure your pulse with no issues. From here to more complex life-saving tech there is a long way to go, you might say, but we are headed in the right direction. Tech giants all over the world are building their newest gadgets with health monitoring in mind, and they will soon release their new line of life-saving smartwatches and more efficient fitness bands for us to try.

The Apple Watch is not the first life-saving device that might come to mind… but it may become in the near future. Apple has reportedly patented a new way of measuring the users’ heart rate, basically turning the device into an EKG unit. According to the patent description, the users will have to squeeze the device between their fingers for it to send a weak electric current through the heart that will track the organ’s function and detect any irregularities. Rather than simply collecting data through a basic heart rate monitor, this new sensor would be able to collect more in-depth data and perhaps even predict “future afflictions”.

Apple has recently given up promoting its smartwatch as a luxury accessory and seems to shift toward its life-saving and health-monitoring potential. Apparently, the Cupertino giant wants to shift at least partially on the Apple Watch as a medical device.

At the same time, Samsung also wants a slice of the med-tech cake for its own Gear series of wearables. A report has recently surfaced of the South Korean tech giant patenting a new sensor that can measure the wearer’s blood pressure. While gadgets having a similar function have already been launched by various companies, these all rely on the traditional means of measuring blood pressure – by using an inflatable pad, much like traditional measuring devices. This new Samsung sensor would, in turn, do so through an innovative light-based technology. The patent refers to the device to be equipped with this new sensor as the “Samsung Gear X” but some sources believe Samsung’s upcoming smartwatch (rumored to be called the Galaxy Watch) might already be equipped with this new technology.

The new capabilities that allow wearable devices to monitor our life signs in a more in-depth and detailed way may become life-savers one day – spikes in our blood pressure and subtle changes in our hear rate and patterns may predict potentially life-threatening conditions in due time so we can seek medical attention sooner.