First integrated PPG, ECG biosensor module for mobile devices

January 09, 2019 //By Rich Pell
First integrated PPG, ECG biosensor module for mobile devices
Maxim Integrated (San Jose, CA) has introduced what it says is the industry's first integrated photoplethysmogram (PPG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor module for mobile devices.

The new MAX86150, says the company, is a first-of-a kind biosensor module comprised of internal LEDs, photodetectors, and an ECG analog front-end (AFE) to provide highly accurate, FDA-certifiable PPG (via a pulse oximeter) and ECG performance in compact, power-saving designs, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and smart speakers.

"The MAX86150 is another important breakthrough at Maxim, continuing the company's push to enable a healthier world," says Mohammad Zarghami, executive business manager, Industrial & Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated. "With highly accurate heart-rate measurements from a compact, low-power device, consumers will be empowered to be more proactive about their healthcare."

PPG sensors use light-based technology to sense the rate of blood flow as controlled by the heart's pumping action, while ECG sensors measure the bio-potential generated by electrical signals that control the expansion and contraction of heart chambers. Previously, says the company, delivering synchronized PPG and ECG measurements on mobile devices has been challenging because designers have had to use two separate biosensors that together consume more board space and power than a mobile device can typically afford.

In addition, achieving high accuracy in the measurements has also been challenging, particularly in cases where sensor sensitivity might be impacted by low perfusion levels or dry skin. The MAX86150 overcomes these challenges, says the company, sampling both PPG and ECG simultaneously to provide the highest sensitivity of pulse transit time.

Key features of the MAX86150 include:

  • Highly Accurate: the module's common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) is the highest on the market at 136 dB. Its 100-mA-capable, high-dynamic-range LED driver enables higher sensitivity on an array of skin types. A low-impedance contact for the ECG sensor enables more accurate measurements, even in cases of dry skin.
  • Long Battery Life: minimizes battery drain with ultra-low shutdown current of 0.7 µA typical. Power consumption less than the closest competitive device further extends battery life compared to competitive solutions.
  • Ease of Deployment: its dry electrode

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