Epson enters healthcare biz with wristwatch pulse monitor

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The Epson E200 wrist watch pulse monitor uses an Epson-made sensor that measures one?s pulse rate by contact with the wearer?s wrist while LCD screen indicates the amount of exercise required to achieve a fat-burning heart rate. Currently, the E200 is only sold in Japan. Sales plans for other markets, including the Philippines, have not been announced. Conventional pulse monitors ? including those previously manufactured on an OEM basis by Epson ? involve a band sensor wrapped around the finger. However, such finger bands are cumbersome and make it difficult for users to perform work. Epson drew on its 20 years of experience in pulse sensing technology to develop the E200 to answer customer demands for a pulse monitor that did not require a finger band. The E200 takes advantage of the light-absorbing property of the hemoglobin in blood to measure the wearer?s heart rate. The monitor directs a harmless LED into the skin, and then uses light-absorbing elements to measure the amount of light that is not absorbed by the hemoglobin and which is reflected back from inside the body. The device measures the pulse rate according to the difference in the amount of light reflected back to the light-absorbing elements. Users can also download their heat rate information to their computers using a USB docking station. There were two main challenges associated with measuring pulse rates from the wrist: The first of these is that there are far fewer blood vessels that can be used for measuring the pulse rate in the wrist compared to the finger. The amount of light that can be detected from the wrist by the light-absorbing elements is only one thirtieth of the amount that can be detected from fingers. To solve this issue, Epson increased the efficiency of the light-absorbing elements and developed a sensor that concentrates these elements on the wrist to ensure a stable pulse signal. The second challenge was the blood flow ?noise? generated when moving the arm while walking. This can make it difficult to measure the pulse rate. Epson therefore built into the pulse monitor an accelerometer capable of measuring the excessive blood flow noise data generated when the arms moved. This data is then automatically removed from the actual data generated by the overall blood flow, making it possible to measure the pulse rate accurately. Epson has developed this new type of pulse monitor by refining its sensing technology and after a lengthy series of user trials. Thanks to these efforts, it is now possible for people to measure their pulse rate simply by attaching the monitor to their wrists. In addition to supporting people looking to lose weight, Epson hopes that the pulse monitor will become a useful tool in the exercise programs of people suffering from cardiac health related illnesses like mild diabetes, or those recovering from heart ailments. ]]>

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