Organic electronics enable wearable pulse oximeter

This is the claim of UC Berkeley engineers who have created a pulse oximeter sensor composed of organic optoelectronics that uses red and green light.

The red and green organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) are detected by the organic photodiode (OPD). The device is claimed to measure arterial oxygen saturation and heart rate as accurately as conventional, silicon-based pulse oximeters.

‘There are various pulse oximeters already on the market that measure pulse rate and blood-oxygen saturation levels, but those devices use rigid conventional electronics, and they are usually fixed to the fingers or earlobe,’ said Ana Arias, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and head of the UC Berkeley team that is developing a new organic optoelectronic sensor.

By switching from silicon to an organic design, the researchers said they were able to create a device that could ultimately be thin, cheap and flexible enough to be applied like a sticking plaster during exercise.

The engineers put the new prototype up against a conventional pulse oximeter and found that the pulse and oxygen readings were just as accurate. The team’s findings are reported in Nature Communications.

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December 12, 2014



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