In-ear sensor for pulse oximetry

In-ear sensor technology for cardiovascular monitoring has been developed at CiS based on a patented, opto-electronic transceiver module. Medical care, rehabilitation, physiological training or sport are possible applications for this technology, which allows for continuous control of vital signs such as pulse, heart rate, blood oxygen level and respiratory rate. The acquired data can be used for diagnosis, fine-tuning therapy as well as for detection of critical conditions. The advantages of in-ear measuring are that it avoids movement-related artefacts at a stable temperature, has low tremor susceptibility, low orthostatic pressure modulation and superior stability with centralisation.

The main item is a VIP sensor, which detects photon-tissue interaction by means of remitted light. It is embedded in an otoplasty familiar with hearing aids, which can be set up either specific to the test subject or universally. The sensor is controlled and the signal picked up via a wireless Bluetooth connection to a microcontroller-based data-recording unit worn on the body, which itself communicates wirelessly with a data analysis computer.

For development of the in-ear sensor system a team of CiS research staff, the RWTH Aachen and Audio Akustik GmbH Sömmerda were awarded the Sensor Innovation Prize 2010 by the AMA Fachverband für Sensorik e.V.