Rockley Photonics taps infrared for ‘clinic-on-the-wrist’ chip
Semiconductor advances are driving new medical smartwatch sensors with improved capabilities. Rockley Photonics’ new sensing platform, unveiled at CES 2022, uses a spectrophotometer chip to emit infrared lasers that pass through the skin.
The company is working with a dozen unnamed consumer electronics companies including six it says are top 10 players in the wearable market. In addition, it has set up research projects with five medical device companies.
Wearable health care devices like smartwatches typically combine LED and PPG sensors to identify body signals that might indicate there’s a problem — including heart rate, breathing, oxygen saturation levels, electrocardiogram activity or sleep patterns. Fitbit, for instance, has a PPG sensor installed to track blood flow directly from the user’s wrist.
By combining these sensors with its photonics-based solution, Rockley’s product is expected to pick up additional physiological measurements like blood oxygen, glucose, lactate and alcohol levels.
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