Image source: Samsung Display

Samsung reveals OLED light-based blood pressure sensor

Samsung Display has introduced the world’s first fingerprint biosensor-embedded panel that measures a person’s blood pressure and other cardio health metrics with OLED light.

This groundbreaking technology was on display at SID Display Week 2023. It has the potential to reshape the future of biometric technology by providing a new level of health monitoring.

A brief history of biometric technology

Biometric technology, which uses physical or behavioural characteristics to identify individuals, has advanced significantly over time. It evolved from simple physical markings in ancient civilizations to the use of physical measurements in the nineteenth century. Alphonse Bertillon is largely responsible for this. He is a French anthropologist who invented Bertillonage, a system for identifying individuals through physical measurements. 

It only gets better from here. Much better.

Fingerprinting became popular in the twentieth century. This was later followed by digital technologies such as facial recognition and iris scanning. Biometrics are now widely used not only for security, but also for personalised user experiences in devices such as smartphones.

Samsung Display innovation

In traditional designs, fingerprint sensors in smartphones are attached as a separate module under the panel. However, Samsung Display has turned this on its head by incorporating the light-sensing organic photodiode (OPD) into the panel itself. This cutting-edge Sensor OLED Display can detect fingerprints anywhere on the screen and even check cardiovascular health.

The technology works by reflecting OLED light in different ways depending on the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels within the finger. The OPD recognises the light and converts it into health information when it returns to the panel. As a result, Samsung Display is the first to unveil panel technology that can detect fingerprints and biometric data at the same time.

What this looks like in practice

“To accurately measure a person’s blood pressure, it is necessary to measure the blood pressure of both arms,” a Samsung Display representative explained in a press release. “The Sensor OLED display can simultaneously sense the fingers of both hands, providing more accurate health information.”

Imagine getting a mini heart health checkup each time you wake up your phone. As shown in the image below, the tech has the potential to measure multiple biomarkers. This includes blood pressure, heart rate, stress level, along with an overall cardio health score.

Samsung Display blood pressure

So the potential for use is primarily in smartphones and other larger screened devices. You would not be able to integrate it easily into a smartwatch as you are required to touch the screen with fingers from both hands in order to take a reading. But no doubt, someone will find a clever way to integrate this into wearables.

Biometric technology has a bright future

The future of health technology is exciting. Expect biometrics to become even more integrated into our daily lives, beyond just security applications. As demonstrated by Samsung, it will be probably be used soon to provide personalised health monitoring and wellness recommendations.

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Furthermore, as biometric sensors become more sophisticated and compact, they may find their way into a broader range of devices. Wearables and household appliances are examples of this, allowing for a new level of interaction between humans and technology.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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