Taiwan Biophotonic Co. Introducing the Industry’s First Reflective Optical Sensor for Fingerless Wrist-Worn Pulse Oximeter

Taiwan Biophotonic Co., a leading provider of non-invasive vital signs sensing solutions, today announced the release of its DOE reflective sensor for fingerless wrist-worn pulse oximeters, which makes a quantum leap forward in the wearable healthcare and medical devices.

Vast amounts of biometric information such as pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, respiration, blood pressure, ECG, blood sugar, motion and other physiological parameters are continuously generated from our body, but these vital signs are not monitored until something goes wrong. It is well-known that the measurement of ECG, pulse rate and blood pressure will tell us the condition of heart and cardiovascular system in our body. However, it is lesser-known by the non-medical public that the blood oxygen saturation is actually another important vital sign which provides the health condition of both cardiovascular and respiratory systems including the function of heart and lung. Wearable devices are now creating new ways for wellness, healthcare and medical care sectors to connect with general public and sub-health population. In particular, wearable vital sign monitoring devices is set to revolutionize the healthcare and medical devices industry over the next few years.

In the hospital and home healthcare, there are portable pulse oximeters that provide non-invasive continuous monitoring of individual’s heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, but they all rely on a clip probe that applies only to fingertips, earlobe or toes. That is because blood in those body sites is close to the skin surface and the clip probe can emit light from one side of skin into the tissue and measure the transmitted light from the other side of the skin. However, prolonged application of the clip probe on the finger may cause pain and tissue breakdown at the finger. Therefore, there are surface mount reflective sensors that attach to skin surface, emit the incident light and detect the reflective light at the same side of the skin surface. However, it is difficult for them to measure pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation from the wrist position because the reflective light from the wrist skin is very week and interfered with strong noise.

The Taiwan Biophotonic’s Reflective Pulse Oximetry Sensor consists of red and infrared LEDs, a light detector and a unique DOE component which exhibits high signal to noise features. This DOE component is a micro structured optical element designed to modulate the photon propagation within the skin tissue so that the reflective light from skin tissue are therefore enhanced. It also reduces the noise of stray light in the reflective light at the skin surface. This technology enables the development of one of the industry’s first reflective optical sensor that continuous measures the pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation at various body sites, including some low blood perfusion sites as wrist and arm.

Currently, the measurement of pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation at the wrist has not yet been successfully achieved by common reflective optical sensor. A demonstration unit of wrist-worn pulse oximetry device with Taiwan Biophotonic’s Reflective Pulse Oximetry Sensor was developed and compared with a medical grade handheld pulse oximter. “Human trial testing results shows that the accuracy of the wrist-worn pulse oximetry device closely agreed with the medical grade specifications,” said Jyh-Chern Chen, President of Taiwan Biophotonic Co. “This report has been submitted to the journal of Biomedical Optics Express in Nov. 2014 for publication.”

“Founded by a team of experts from the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Taiwan Biophotonic Corporation has developed the world-leading non-invasive and wearable sensing technologies for healthcare and medical devices,” said Ching-Yen Tsay, Chairman of ITRI. “This reflective pulse oximetry sensor is just the beginning of a line of wearable solutions that Taiwan Biophotonic Co. will be introducing this year.”