Valencell, a company known for its work on health sensors found in various smartwatches and fitness trackers, has announced a new product for consumers at CES 2023. The yet to be named device is a cuff-less fingertip blood pressure monitor.
It doesn’t work like the traditional thing which sits on your upper arm and needs to be inflated and deflated in order to take a measurement. Instead, this looks to be something akin to a blood oxygen monitor.
How it works
The gizmo shines pulses of light onto the tip of a finger’s skin to measure blood flow. This is a technology called Photoplethysmography (PPG), which is also used by fitness trackers and smartwatches to measure heart rate from the wrist. The sensor information captured from the finger is combined with your physical characteristics (age, weight, gender and height) to arrive at a blood pressure estimate. Measurements arrive in less than a minute.
No calibration is needed, so everything works out-of-the box! This is unlike the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. The device can also take blood pressure readings but requires calibration with a traditional cuff every few weeks. Which is not ideal.
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The Valencell fingertip device can be connected to a phone via Bluetooth and will display the results on both its easy-to-read digital display and the phone. The accompanying app will allow users to track historical data, view trends and gain insights. They will also be able to share their readings with medical specialists.
Taking blood pressure readings can be a hassle. Some people may need to take measurements daily or even multiple times a day, while others may only need to measure once a week or once a month.
Something like this has the potential to make it much easier for people with heart issues to manage their condition. A device they can use to get readings much more quickly than they would with the traditional thing.
It all sounds familiar
If this all sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Those with a long-term interest in the topic may remember CES 2021. This is when Valencell announced new sensor technology for wearable devices.
It was supposed to allow smartwatches to take blood pressure readings with the same accuracy as traditional cuffs. This technology, too, was based on PPG and would capture heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygenation and respiration rate in addition to blood pressure.
Unfortunately, we have not seen this implemented in any wearable devices just yet. So the wait continues. In the meantime, it seems Valencell has taken this same technology and developed something of its own.
But don’t plan on purchasing the blood pressure monitor in the months ahead. It is expected to be available in the US once it receives FDA clearance, which is scheduled for late 2023. There is always the possibility a European launch could occur before then. The device will cost around $99 which should make it within reach of most people.
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