by Spela Kosir

August 10, 2015

A Look at Optical Sensors in Smart Wearables Technology

Optical sensors have long played an integral part in the innovation and evolution of technology. Everything from compact disc players to computers have been able to embrace the power of optical sensors and their uses. In today’s world of smart technology and smart wearables, optical sensors have again found themselves as having a very important role to play. The following is a look at some of the products and smart technologies that have utilized optical sensors and their technologies.

MioGlobal Heart Rate Monitor

The first example here of optical sensors incorporated with smart wearables these days is the MioGlobal Heart Rate Monitor. MioGlobal here has worked with Phillips Electronics in developing a wrist wearable that is embedded with optical sensors to keep track of heart rate. The great thing about this product is that there is no chest strap needed as with a lot of heart rate monitors in this market these days.

The MioGlobal Heart Rate Monitor is able to give precise EKG readings and do it with the utmost of accuracy. The heart rate monitor here has a companion app that is able to be accessed with both iOS and Android mobile devices. It will also work with BlueTooth devices as well. Users need to have iPhone 4S at a minimum and Android 4.3. There are 11 different heart monitoring models here and they range in price from $69 to $199 and can be found online at www.mioglobal.com and various other retail outlets.

Masimo Corporation

Masimo Corporation is a company that produces optical sensors for smart wearables. The company was actually formed in 1989 and since then have been able to produce sensors for a whole range of products. Some of the smart technologies that they have helped produce are health monitors, brain function monitors, and a wide array of others.

They actually got their name and start making monitors and sensors for home alarms and for blood oxygen monitors in the healthcare industry. Masimo these days have seen themselves contributing a lot of smart wearables for high endurance athletes. This company is highly respected in their field and have been for the past 25 years.

TBPC Healthcare

Another company that utilizes optical sensors in the smart wearables technology business is TBPC Healthcare or Taiwan Biophotonic Company. The major product that the company here is marketing is the world’s first industrial reflective non-invasive glucose meter. This company is a new one that was formed just last year. TBPC is also known for their wrist worn pulse detector and oxygen measuring smart device.

The glucose meter is one that is a camera like device where the users looks in it and the sensors embedded in the device are able to measure things such as blood sugar levels. This device is being well accepted due to the fact that no finger pricking is needed to measure glucose levels. These new products from Taiwan Biophotonic Company are in the finishing stages and their executives are making the rounds at all of the major healthcare and smart technology conferences and shows. This product could see its debut by the end of the year or sometime in 2016.

Angel Sensor

The product that is being touted here by Angel Sensors is a wearable band that has all kinds of health measuring abilities. Three sensors are embedded into the band which are able to track vitals such as heart rate, activity, temperature, and there is also the feature in the works that will be able to measure blood oxygen levels.

This band is designed to be worn 24/7 and is able to keep real time stats. The band here by Angel has BlueTooth connectivity and the companion app is able to work with both iOS and Android devices. The device here is modestly priced at $159 and is certainly a good deal with all of the technology that is involved here. These bands come in all different sizes and can be purchased from the company website at angelsensor.com.

Microsoft Band

Microsoft has long been a top name in the technology world so it should be no shock that they have entered the healthcare and smart wearables industry. Microsoft Health is the new part of the Microsoft company that is charged with the development of the Microsoft Band. It is a simple wearable that has optical sensors embedded that is able to read various health vitals. Everything from steps taken, heart rate, and sleep quality can be measured with the Microsoft Band.

Golf players will love this product as it has golf shot measuring and with its built in GPS can give you hole locations on the greens. The Microsoft Health app can work with both iOS and Android devices. GPS run mapping and real time coaching are other features here along with messaging and email alerts. The Microsoft Band certainly looks to be making a name for itself in the smart wearables industry and market. All of this innovative technology can be purchased for $199 and is endorsed by all kinds of health companies and golf companies.

RHYTHM+ by Scosche

The RHYTHM+ by Scosche is another one of those fitness trackers that have optical sensors that are used for tracking all kinds of health vitals and information. PerformTek is the patented optical sensor technology that is used here to be able to track all the information that it is able to store. The RHYTHM+ is designed for heart rate monitoring and is able to do that without the need of a chest strap.

There is a long list of activity apps that are able to be used with the device here. All of the major health measuring stats such as steps taken right on up to heart rate are able to be measured and recorded with the RHYTHM+. It is BlueTooth connectable and is also able to work with ANT+ display devices. Real time stats will be able to let anyone to be able to conduct a high quality workout at any time. The price here for the RHYTHM+ is also very enticing as it retails for only $79.99. www.scosche.com is where a person can go to inquire about this new and innovative heart rate monitoring technology.

Atlas Wearables

Workout tracking is a big thing in the smart wearables field these days. The Wristband here by Atlas Wearables certainly does that and more here. With the use of optical sensors, a person is able to track how many strokes they take swimming in the pool and how many reps they completed while doing push ups or bench presses. The 3D capable optical sensors and the innovative scientists and developers here have developed a product that is certainly one of the tops in its market.

The companion app here is able to work with both iOS and Android devices and is able to give you real time information, workout tracking information, and coaching. Coach mode can be used to get that extra push or freestyle mode for a person to work on their own time and pace. The Atlas Wristband is waterproof to 50 meters and has a micro USB charger. Make every rep count with the Atlas Wristband. This product is in a preorder mode and can be purchased at the company website for $249.

FitBit

Of all of the heart rate monitors and workout tracking devices that are out on the market these days, without a doubt it is FitBit and their Charge HR that is most widely known. Commercials touting this product can be found all over television and on the internet. Optical sensors are able to let this smart wearable to be able to do all the things that a consumer would want from heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking, and activity tracking.

Wireless BlueTooth syncing allows for hands free working out and not to have worry about bulky wires. The companion app will work with any and all iOS and Android devices. FitBit is widely recognized as a leader in the smart wearables and health industry and fitness buffs have taken to the product with vigor. The FitBit Charge HR can be found all different kinds of retail outlets online and at the brick and mortar stores. For $149, the FitBit Charge HR is certainly a good buy and would be an excellent workout training tool and accessory.

Garmin ForeRunner 225

Garmin has been known for their contributions to smart training technology for several decades now. Here is the Garmin ForeRunner 225. This is another one of those smart wearables that is embedded with an optical sensor that has all kinds of activity tracking capabilities. Pace and distance and heart rate are the main vitals that the ForeRunner 225 is able to keep track of in real time. The companion app here is called Garmin Connect and with the app a person will be able to keep track of calories burned and other performance stats.

There is a coach and the app will be able to work with any iOS or Android device. The ForeRunner 225 is the first GPS enabled wrist smart device made by Garmin. The coach is able to set the pace to your workouts so you can train optimally at all times. The ForeRunner 225 comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and has a long battery life in regular watch mode and will last up to 10 hours in the workout tracking mode. The ForeRunner 225 also comes with customizable screens. The Garmin ForeRunner 225 retails for $299 and can be found at various retailers all throughout the world and online.

Basis Peak

The next smart wearable that uses optical sensors that will be looked at is the Basis Peak. This smartwatch and fitness wearable has a very simple and streamlined look but it is packed full of fierce technology and function. Text, emails, and notifications are just one of the things that this device can do. With its patented BodyIQ technology, the Basis Peak is able to keep track of heart rate, steps and strides, and is also a smart sleep tracker.

Again, this is a product that is able to do the heart monitoring aspects without the need of a chest strap which a lot of products in this market are doing these days. The Basis Peak has a Gorilla Glass 3 touch screen front and has a battery life up to four days. For $199, the Basis Peak is a reasonable price for the things that it is able to do. It also has a patented SportVent interchangeable strap that has various sporty colors. The Basis Peak is light and sleek and it is certainly a fashion piece.

University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

St. Andrews, Scotland in the United Kingdom is known for a lot of firsts. It is the birthplace of golf and it is also the home of the oldest university in all of Scotland. The University of St. Andrews is also a place where groundbreaking research is taking place when it comes to the use of optical sensors in the healthcare industry.

The big research that is undergoing at this prestigious college currently is the use of optical sensors to control artificial limbs. Professors Ifor Samuel and Dr. Ashu Bansal have developed disposable optical sensors that can perform health tracking functions. The research team have also worked on muscle contracting sensors that will in turn help with the innovation of controlling artificial limbs. Light is scattered by the sensors which in turn help control muscle movement. Studies such as these will be very important in the future and could possibly help quadriplegics and paralyzed persons to possibly be able to walk again and those with missing limbs to be able to function properly again.

The future of optical sensor technology, especially in the healthcare field, is one that is boundless and certainly exciting. Fitness tracking and health monitoring are certainly two fields that are seeing the implementation of optical sensors at a high rate these days.

As seen with the university studies, optical sensors could also play a huge part in the recovery of people as well. Optical sensors will go a long way in being able to have people to live healthy and productive lives which means that the future for sensors and the future health of the world certainly looks very good.