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LED-based optical sensor improves fitness tracking in smartwatches

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By eeNews Europe


The sensor has been optimized in terms of power consumption and measurement accuracy. The main applications for the component include mobile devices such as smartwatches and fitness armbands – also known as wearables – for continuously monitoring fitness levels. The integrated optical sensor contains five light emitting diodes with three different wavelengths and one high-sensitivity photodiode.

SFH 7060 is a further development of optical sensor SFH 7050, which Osram presented in 2014. The device performs the same functions as its predecessor but has improved power consumption and signal quality. SFH 7060 consists of three green LEDs, one red LED, one infrared LED and one large-format photodiode, which is optically separated from the emitters by an opaque barrier. The device works by shining light into the skin. Different amounts of the light are absorbed by blood and the surrounding tissue. The light not absorbed is reflected to the detector. Absorption measurements with different wavelengths are used to determine the pulse rate and the saturation level of oxygen in the blood.

Green light is best for measuring the pulse at the wrist. SFH 7060 is equipped with three green LEDs with a wavelength of 530 nm based on the latest high-efficiency UX:3 chip technology from Osram Opto Semiconductors. At their optimum operating point at a current of 20 mA, they are efficient and typically deliver an optical output of 3.4 mW at a voltage of 3.2 V per chip. The higher light output compared with SFH 7050 results in better signal quality and more stable pulse measurements. The low power consumption also means long battery life in the device.


Oxygen saturation in your blood is calculated from the different absorption rates of red (660 nm) and infrared (940 nm) light. The quality of the measurements depends to a large extent on the achievable signal-to-noise ratio and on the linearity of the photodetector. The integrated photodiode with its active surface of 1.3 mm x 1.3 mm meets these requirements perfectly. In addition, the distance between the two transmitters and the photodiode in the SFH 7060 is greater than in the SFH 7050. This means the light penetrates deeper into the skin before it is reflected to the detector, which leads to more stable signals and a better signal-to-noise ratio. As in the case of its predecessor, the wavelength of the red transmitter is specified with a narrow tolerance of ± 3 nm to ensure accurate measurements. The spectral bandwidth of the infrared and green LEDs is 30 nm in each case.

Users can now choose between a highly efficient solution designed for pulse rate measurements, a compact sensor for combined pulse rate and blood oxygen measurements and a larger version with the same but improved functionality.

www.osram.com


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