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Biosensors monitor moods, detect seizures

11 Mar 2016  | Patrick Mannion

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Heart rate sensors

HRV or HRM sensors, which measure the time difference between heartbeats, are generally based on the photoplethysmography (PPG) sensing technique that measures blood volume pulse (BVP), from which heart rate, heart-rate variability, and other cardiovascular features can be derived.

PPG sensors measure pulse rate by sampling light modulated by the blood vessels, which expand and contract as blood pulses through them. These heart-rate sensors might be a serious substitute for cumbersome ECG chest straps when paired with accelerometers.

Sensor supplier ams AG introduced a sensor module that converts the PPG readings into digital HRM and HRV data using an emotion recognition algorithm. The Austria-based company claims that its AS7000 sensor module—comprising a photosensor, analogue front-end (AFE), LEDs, and controller—overcomes limitations that have long hindered the potential of bio-feedback sensors in consumer applications.

ams AS7000 sensor

Figure 3: The ams AS7000 sensor module converts PPG readings into digital HRM and HRV data and comes with electrical, mechanical, and optical design guidelines.

The sensor comes with advanced analogue-based noise reduction, motion compensation, and power management, all to ensure relatively fool-proof stress-level monitoring in space- and power-limited wearables.

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