A new optical heart-rate monitor named Pulse Sensor, is so small that you can wear it as a button on your dress, fit in your earlobes or finger tips and use it to get live data of your heart rate. Developed by Brooklyn-based innovators Joel Murphy and Yury Gitman, the Pulse sensor has been developed as a plug-and-play heart-rate monitor that does not need to be attached to a computer for the purpose.
The Pulse Sensor works on the same principle as all optical heart rate monitors. According to researchers, the amount of light absorbed or reflected by oxygen rich blood varies significantly from oxygen poor blood. Also, the level of oxygen in the blood increases with each heart beat and goes down during the interval. The optical heart-rate monitors calculate this relative change in blood, or the fluctuation in the level of oxygen during heart beats when light is passed through capillary tissues to count the heart beat and pulse with the help of a photo-diode.
This super small heart-rate monitor can work without a computer. All you need is to attach it to any micro-controller. The present prototype uses Arduino micro-controller, which is an open source electronics prototyping platform and can be powered by a battery. The Arduino reads signals from the Pulse Sensor while all the data can be stored on a memory card instantaneously. The Pulse Sensor has not been developed as a medical device as there are many low cost or highly efficient heart rate meters. It uses a light emitting diode (LED) in contrast to common oximeters that use both red and infra red lights to measure changes in blood.
Infact, it has been designed as a low cost heart rate monitor that can also be used by various groups like students, electronics enthusiasts and others. According to the researchers, it can be used for multiple purposes and in different conditions. It can be worn in many configurations because of its small size and used to make light-up clothing that shows the heart beat live. It can also be used for controlling light and sound effect during stage performances.
The researchers have found the Pulse Sensor to be immune to noise during heavy movement and changes in the lighting conditions. As such, it could be used for recording heart beat rate even while you are jogging. It can also be used for monitoring at-risk infants and other patients at a very affordable cost.