A low power heart rate monitor with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity has been developed that could be the first of a series of wireless health and fitness peripherals for smartphones. Dayton Industrial Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong developed the monitor, which is designed to work with a chest belt, using the µBlue™ nRF8001 chip from Nordic Semiconductor.
Nordic Semiconductor specializes in very low power wireless chips. The company claims the device will be able to run up to 500 hours off a single CR2032 coin cell. For a product that is typically used one hour per day, that’s nearly 18 months of use. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a feature of Bluetooth 4.0 for short range, low latency, and relatively low speed (approximately 200 kilobit per second) applications.
Dayton Industrial is an OEM/ODM company that makes watches and watch-like devices—primarily for fitness applications. (An Original Equipment Manufacturer makes a product and then sells it to other companies to market under their own brand. An Original Design Manufacturer designs and manufactures a product for a specific company to market.)
In one possible scenario, the smartphone could serve as the hub for a variety of health and fitness peripherals such as heart rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, EKG monitors, pedometers, and oximeters. The data could be collected and automatically uploaded to the user’s Personal Health Record (PHR), physician, or home PC. The smartphone could be equipped with software for applications ranging from weight loss monitoring (measuring calories consumed and calories burned) to emergency signaling.