3 Ways an Integrated Bio-algorithm Sensor Hub Simplifies Wearable Designs

3 Ways an Integrated Bio-algorithm Sensor Hub Simplifies Wearable Designs

So you've got an idea for a new type of wearable, something that will accurately measure parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, and blood-oxygen levels (SpO2). The market for these devices is hot, so you and your team want to time the launch of your device to the most opportune market window.

So much to do, so little time. Have you considered streamlining your development process by using an integrated bio-algorithm sensor hub? A bio-algorithm sensor hub consists of an IC with installed algorithms that seamlessly connect to a device's optical sensor and host microcontroller. With the right integrated hub, you won't have to worry about acquiring the expertise needed to develop sensor-based algorithms. You can also reduce schedule and validation risks.

Wearable Health Monitoring for Healthier Humans

Convenient and regular monitoring of certain health parameters can contribute to better overall well-being, enabling people to be more proactive about their care. Let's consider blood pressure. Too high or too low, and there could be serious health consequences. Blood pressure is vital, yet invisible. The market need for blood pressure monitoring is clear and, considering the statistics, rather urgent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every three American adults has high blood pressure and the same number has pre-hypertension. Having high blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, and high blood pressure costs the U.S. $48.6 billion a year in health care services, medication, missed days of work, and related factors.1 Low blood pressure can trigger dizziness and fainting.

By knowing your blood-pressure numbers, you're equipped to take the steps needed to prevent it from getting too high or too low (or remedying an unhealthy situation). Familiar blood-pressure monitoring systems include cuff-based devices that measure absolute blood pressure, as well as optical devices. An example of an optical device is a smartphone that measures blood-pressure trending via a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor integrated on the phone. Both of these examples are resting-state monitoring methods, the only approach that the clinical community recognizes. The optical approach can tap into the traditional method as part of its calibration process. An example use case can take these steps:

Step 1: The user measures blood pressure using a traditional monitoring device and enters the value into the optical device's GUI at resting state

Step 2: The user places his or her finger on the PPG sensor to complete calibration at resting state

Step 3: The user places his or her finger on the PPG sensor to monitor blood-pressure trending at resting state

The ability to gather accurate data from wearable formats depends on factors such as optical design as well as the sophistication of the algorithms and the ability to meet guidelines for medical-grade quality. You can address the last two criteria with an integrated bio-algorithm sensor hub.

Smartphones that provide blood-pressure monitoring typically use an optical sensor that captures data from the user's finger.

Faster Wearable Development Cycle

The MAX32664 Version A bio-algorithm sensor hub is the market's only turnkey solution for streamlining the development of health-monitoring applications that meet medical-grade requirements in body-worn form factors. MAX32664 Version A supports fingertip-based applications that monitor heart rate, heart-rate variability, and blood oxygen (SpO2). For example, the sensor hub can be integrated into an application such as a biometric smartwatch that tracks vital signs and is capable of sharing the user's data in real time with healthcare professionals. This type of wearable application can be useful for use cases such as remote patient monitoring.

Here are three key ways that an integrated biosensor algorithm hub such as the MAX32664 can streamline the development of your next health monitoring wearable:

  1. Reduce your design time and validation risks by ensuring that disparate components will work together effectively, thanks to embedded firmware and algorithms for health and fitness wearables. The algorithms are also customized to specific body locations and applications.
  2. Simplify your design process by taking advantage of complete optical system design guidance and ready-to-use reference designs. Also, field updates can be made to the sensor data processing algorithms.
  3. Accelerate your time to market. Since the algorithm code runs on a small, dedicated sensor hub microcontroller, you won't have to integrate into an existing application processor. And, of course, you won't have to spend time writing your own algorithms.

MAX32664 Version A is included in the MAXREFDES220# reference design for the development of accurate finger-based health monitoring applications. MAXREFDES220# also consists of a complete integrated optical sensor module and a microcontroller sensor hub. The sensor hub itself comes with controllable interfaces for sample rates and power levels. Design prototyping with MAXREFDES220# has demonstrated the ability to trim up to six months from a development cycle. So if you're ready to start working on a cool new wearable design, consider how an integrated bio-algorithm sensor hub can make things easier for you.

BTW, MAXREFDES220# also features MAX32664 Version D. Version D supports the same application areas as Version B with the addition of cuffless blood-pressure trending. For more details about Version D, read the MAXREFDES220# news release.

Learn More

  • User Guide: Measuring Heart Rate and SpO2 Using the MAX32664A
  • Application Note: Guidelines for SpO2 Measurement Using the Maxim 32664 Sensor Hub


1 https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm