Your Garmin watch could soon monitor skin temperature – and that's a big deal

Runner lying on grass checking his GPS watch
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin may soon add wrist-based temperature monitoring to its GPS watches, which could unlock a huge array of potential uses.

As reported by Gadgets & Wearables, one watch owner has spotted a new section in the sleep section of Garmin Connect mobile app that refers to wrist temperature, alongside the existing pulse ox and respiration measurements. We can't see the section ourselves, so it's possible it's not rolled out globally yet.

Many Garmin watches already have an internal temperature sensor, but this is used to support the barometer and help it to provide a stable reading, rather than measure body or ambient temperature (sitting within the watch, it is affected by both).

If you want to measure environmental temperature, you'll need the Garmin Tempe, which attaches to your clothing or running backpack and transmits data wirelessly to your Garmin watch.

In order to detect skin temperature, the sensor would need to sit right against your skin, which is something no Garmin watches currently have. There was no mention of skin temperature in the early specs lists we've seen for the Garmin Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965, but it may be forthcoming in another of this year's new releases.

Why is skin temperature a big deal?

Although it can be influenced by the environment, skin temperature can be a good indicator of core body temperature, which can tell you a lot about the way your body is working.

One particular area where wrist-based skin temperature monitoring could be useful is women's health. Garmin already has a tool for monitoring your menstrual cycle, if you have one, but at present it relies on manually entered data, including dates and symptoms.

With a skin temperature sensor, your watch may be able to detect the slight increase in body temperature that indicates ovulation, which could be very useful for anyone with an irregular cycle that's hard to predict, or who is trying to conceive.

This is a feature already offered by some wearables, including the Oura smart ring. This tracks trends in your body temperature and highlights differences that might indicate ovulation, overtraining (which can also increase body temperature).

It could also help predict early signs of illness. Garmin was one of several health tech companies that participated in studies to investigate whether changes in heart rate can be used to predict Covid-19 before people develop symptoms, and skin temperature measurement could make this even more accurate

Your watch won't be able to diagnose illness, but it might be able to alert you to trends that are worth bearing in mind, in case you want to isolate early or avoid contact with family members or friends who may have weakened immune systems.

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.