Earphones capable of measuring blood flow. Measurement results are displayed on a tablet computer.
[Click to enlarge image]

Kyocera Corp prototyped an optical sensor that measures blood flow in hypodermal tissues and exhibited it at Medtec Japan 2017, which took place from April 19 to 21, 2017, at Tokyo Big Sight.

It can be embedded in wearable devices, etc to visualize the functions to adjust autonomic nerves and blood pressure, heat stroke and dehydration. The company aims to commercialize the sensor in 2018 or 2019.

The optical sensor measures blood flow by using the laser Doppler method. Laser light is applied to skin, and scattering light from hypodermal tissues and blood cells are received with photodiodes. By analyzing the frequency spectrum of the light, blood flow is calculated.

Kyocera realized a small size (3.2 x 1.6 x 0.9mm), high sensitivity and high reliability by using its own mounting technologies.

Kyocera has been engaged in a research in collaboration with universities to know what kinds of indicators can be evaluated by using blood flow. The company is currently focusing on indicators such as sleep quality and the effectiveness of massage.

According to Kyocera, blood pressure can be accurately measured when measurement is conducted in an ear hole or on a forehead. So, the company exhibited earphones equipped with the sensor at the exhibition, proposing using them for checking physical conditions and mental tension while listening to music.