Ref-Nr: TDO0169

Technology abstract

PULSEAR is a fully integrated heart rate monitor (HRM), located in a headphone. It has been developed and patented by CSEM, a private Swiss research and technology organization that delivers advanced technologies and unique R&D services to industry. PULSEAR does not affect sound quality and does not further limit the headset design.


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Technology Description

PULSEAR is a fully integrated heartᆰ-rate measurement system located in a headphone. The system is based on an optical measurement of the subcutaneous blood flow, coupled with an accurate measure of the motion provided by a set of accelerometers. Thanks to CSEM?s key expertise in signal processing for biomedical applications, PULSEAR does not require any additional probe or chest belt and therefore fills the gap left by existing heart rate monitors.

PULSEAR measures the pulsatile signal resulting from the absorption of an infrared beam crossing the ear pavilion. The light is modulated by the pulsatile swelling of the arterioles. The headphone embeds an infrared LED in the hook, while the photodiode is located in the earphone at the ear channel. The intrinsically high sensitivity of photoplethysmography (PPG) to motion artifacts is compensated by an ultra-low power signal conditioning front-end and with advanced signal processing methods that exploits the extra information of a multi-axis accelerometer sensor, also embedded in the headphone.

The integration of a tri-axial accelerometer system invites the extension of the PULSEAR technology to human kinetics applications, such as physical activity classification, step counting, cadence, running speed & efficiency, and precise energy expenditure calculation. All parameters are calculated in real-time and can be transmitted wirelessly to a remote location.


Innovations & Advantages

The PULSEAR product concepts have USPs for merging a portable audio player with a heart rate monitor into a comfortable headset with low sensitivity to motion artefacts, thanks to the CSEM patented multi-dimensional and multi-channel signal processing framework. In comparison to available commercial products, PULSEAR has been designed to consume the lowest power, thanks to its low-power signal conditioning front-end. In addition the audio signal can function as a user feedback on performance, overload, and pacing.

Further Information

A set of PULSEAR prototypes are available today for further testing and validation, and with different form factors. PULSEAR has been tested thoroughly and validated against a large dataset, where recordings were performed simultaneously with the PULSEAR prototypes and chest belt based HRM systems. The following results can be summarized (per type of activity):


Current and Potential Domains of Application

Sports, wellness, leisure, medical, health, security, etc.