Armbands and wristbands
Armbands and wristbands work well with two-dimensional optics and green/yellow light sources work best.
Earbuds work well with three-dimensional optics and Infrared (IR) light sources are critical.
LeBoeuf stated that he actually began with the goal of “one sensor, one spot on the body” concept. He told me that the ear is the best place on the human body to measure all that is important because of its unique vascular structure to detect heart rate (HR) and respiration rate. Also, the tympanic membrane radiates body heat so that we are able to get accurate body temperature here.
Earbuds can measure body temperature as well as PPG signals. The antitragus is the cartilage bump part of our ear located just above the earlobe pointing to the back of the head. (Image courtesy of Valencell)
He went on that the human head area is the best place to measure physical activity as determined by lab tests. Since everyone wears audio headsets and earbuds nowadays while, walking, exercising and jogging, if you put good audio, ergonomics and biometrics together then you have a winning combination for a pleasant experience combined with accurate health and fitness monitoring. Valencell’s algorithm can accurately track blood pressure in the ear as well.
Valencell specializes in integrated in-ear wireless hardware solutions for the rapidly expanding mobile fitness and health market. The company has recently licensed their PerformTek technology to BioConnected for the development of its HR-SENSE all-in-one advanced Bluetooth wireless biometric training earphones. These enable an end-user to monitor multiple personal biometrics such as: heart rate, distance, pace, speed, cadence, total steps, energy expenditure, net-fat burned, current time, time elapsed and elevation.
To gauge user activity level and to generate activity context, the PerformTek earbud sensor module leverages the accelerometer that is built in to the sensor module. The PerformTek signal extraction method applies a proprietary algorithm to the accelerometer signal to measure running, cycling and activity cadence and to estimate speed and distance traveled. An additional proprietary algorithm estimates VO2 and calories burned by processing both the accelerometer signal and blood flow signal.
A unique feature of the BioConnected HR-SENSE is the ability to assess and monitor Heart Fitness Age – a critical factor in determining overall body fitness. In addition to the biometric measurement capability and the highly intuitive BioConnected App, the BioConnected HR-SENSE Bluetooth wireless earphones deliver music and allow phone calls to be made and received during exercise sessions.
I expect to see many more such innovations come from this technology in the future.
What do you think about this technique and application? Can you imagine or conceive any other uses for this solution?