In a world where hypertension affects so many of us, the need for easily accessible, inexpensive, and accurate blood pressure monitoring is more important than ever. The BPClip is a low-cost, smartphone-based blood pressure monitor that has the potential to make home blood pressure tracking accessible and affordable for all.
How it works
The little gadget consists of a plastic clip with a spring-loaded mechanism that can measure blood pressure when attached to a smartphone. This clever device takes advantage of the scientific principle of measuring oscillometry at the fingertip.
As a user presses on the device with increased force, the spring-loaded mechanism compresses. The size of a pinhole in the clip encodes the pressure applied to the finger, while the brightness fluctuation of the pinhole projection correlates to the arterial pulse amplitude. By capturing these two variables with the built-in camera, the smartphone can measure a user’s blood pressure with just the low-cost, plastic clip and a smartphone app.
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Moreover, unlike previous approaches, the BPClip system does not require a blood pressure cuff measurement for calibration. This is a significant benefit over pulse transit time and pulse wave analysis-based blood pressure monitoring solutions, which both require this on a regular basis. The BPClip also requires nothing more than a standard smartphone.
This small device has a huge potential impact, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities. These population segments frequently face barriers to healthcare services, resulting in a lack of preventative care and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension. The BPClip has the potential to be an effective solution for them by making blood pressure monitoring readily available.
The affordability of the BPClip also works in its favour. The material cost is estimated to be $0.80 in a small-batch manufacturing of 1000 units. This implies that the BPClip can be mass-produced at a fraction of the cost of existing cuff-based monitors.
As detailed in journal Nature, the BPClip’s preliminary feasibility findings are promising. The device achieved a mean absolute error of 8.72 and 5.49 for systolic and diastolic blood pressure in a validation study with 29 participants. Which means it is fairly accurate.
The BPClip is more than a blood pressure monitor; it represents how technology can help to democratise healthcare. The gadget is paving the way for a future in which managing chronic conditions like hypertension is within everyone’s reach, regardless of income or location, by leveraging the ubiquity of smartphones and the simplicity of a plastic clip.
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