On the morning of Tuesday 27 June, a young man walked into an office in northern California, signed a consent form and picked up two devices that will monitor his heartbeat, sleep patterns and a range of other bodily functions. He is one of the first participants in a planned 4-year, 10,000-person study being run by Googles spin-off company Verily Life Sciences, which aims to find out how readings from smart devices can be combined with genetic tests and other data to improve overall health and to predict when someone might suffer a medical emergency such as a stroke or seizure.

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