10 Optical Heart Rate Monitor Considerations for New Wearables

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You’re sitting in a planning meeting. The team has just come up with some pretty amazing ideas for the new wearable device with an optical heart rate monitor you’re adding to your product line. Everyone’s really excited and the planning process gets its start as they all turn to you: who should we partner with for the biometrics?

Suddenly you realize you’re not entirely sure where to begin.

We’ve heard this before. Many times. After all, Valencell has been involved in more biometric wearable projects than any other company in the world. So we thought we’d help ease your mind by providing 10 things you should look for in your search for a biometric sensor system that meets your needs.

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to understand one particular aspect of biometric wearables. We use the term “system” very deliberately because getting biometrics right in wearables requires a system in which the key components (hardware/optomechanics, firmware, signal processing, data assessments and device validation testing) need to be designed and built to work together seamlessly. You can think of these things like links in a chain and weakness or failure in any one of these links will cause major problems for your product.

So without further ado, here are the 10 things to consider in selecting a biometric sensor system for your next wearable:

1. Get proof that it works before you get started.

This might seem pretty obvious, but anyone who has brought a biometric wearable to market will tell you thatthe hardest part of the product development cycle is getting the biometric sensor system to work well enough to meet your requirements . Your starting point should be a working reference design. Any HR technology vendor you are considering working with should be able to show you a working reference design that performs at the levels of precision and accuracy you require. If the device is meant for exercise monitoring, then make sure the reference design has been tested during interval training and outdoors (through shadows), where most biometric wearables fail.

Some other ways to validate the technology include:

  • Find independent testing and validation with published white papers outlining the methodologies and results. It is important that the results are presented by a respected third party, whose credentials you trust.
  • Test other companies’ products in the market that are using a particular vendors technology. Are their customers pleased with the performance? How does it perform in your tests?
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