MediaTek Sensio: the first six-in-one smartphone biosensor module revealed

MediaTek Sensio: the first six-in-one smartphone biosensor module revealed

MediaTek Sensio

MediaTek Sensio, a powerful advanced health monitoring solution, makes it easy to track heart rate information, blood pressure trends, peripheral oxygen saturation levels and more.

The advent of IoT in healthcare is bringing daily monitoring of our vital signs to everyday devices. We reported recently on the release of the Apple Watch KardiaBand accessory, which can provide easy EKG readings on the go, without the need for standalone, impractical hardware.

Global fabless semiconductor company MediaTek is entering the fray with a personal health companion solution of its own, timetabled for release in early 2018. Its MediaTek Sensio is a six-in-one biosensor module designed to be integrated into smartphones – enabling it to deliver the following key health data points:

  • Heart-rate: heart beats per minute
  • Heart-Rate Variability: variation in the time between heartbeats
  • Blood Pressure Trends: blood pressure data charted over time to show trends
  • Peripheral Oxygen Saturation (SpO2): the amount of oxygen in the blood
  • Electrocardiography (EKG/ECG): the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time, displayed as a graph
  • Photoplethysmography (PPG): the change in volume of blood

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How MediaTek Sensio works

The module employs LEDs and a light sensor on the smartphone’s body to measure the absorption of red and infrared light by the user’s fingertips. Touching the sensors and electrodes completes the device’s circuit and allowing the biosensor to measure EKG and PPG waveforms.

Smartphone manufacturers who wish to integrate the Sensio can develop proprietary applications or use third-party solutions and developer add-ons.

“Giving people the power to access their health information with a smartphone is a major step in making the world a healthier place,” said Dr. Yenchi Lee, senior director of product marketing for MediaTek’s wireless business. “With our MediaTek Sensio biosensor module and software, developers and device makers have a powerful, embedded health monitoring solution that delivers heart and fitness information in around 60 seconds.”

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Will it tempt smartphone manufacturers?

There’s no doubt that the MediaTek Sensio offers a neat solution for those with existing health conditions that require close monitoring. However, the challenge for MediaTek will be persuading smartphone manufacturers to integrate their product into future devices.

Historically, the likes of Samsung, Apple and LG have sought to engineer ever thinner, faster phones. While the MediaTek Sensio package is compact (6.8mm x 4.9mm x 1.2mm), it may add to the thickness or limit the battery size of any device that utilises it.

However, with top-of-the-range smartphones now at a point where they are almost bezel-less and as thin as we could want them, heath monitoring features could help to differentiate a device in what is an increasingly homogenous market.

When your competitors are using the same SoC, display and other specifications, it takes something extra to distinguish a new release. Tapping into the burgeoning popularity of fitness and health tracking solutions could well be the answer. Mediatek products, from processors to network chipsets, are currently found in nearly one in three mobile phones globally, so they seem well-placed to disrupt the current status quo.

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