You can see clues to future directions when a technology niche catches the attention of some of the largest component manufacturers. The significant time, space, personnel, and financial resources required to to develop microprocessors and other components isn’t committed lightly. The signs are coming fast that some of the world’s largest component makers see wearable Health Tech as game in which they want to participate. We recently wrote about Samsung’s new multifunction Bio-Processor and now LG Electronic’s Innotek division is in the game.
Innotek is short for “innovative technology” and the company’s new ultra slim, optical bio sensor module addresses wearable Health Tech’s needs for components that are small, power efficient, and capable of performing multiple functions. The new LG sensor module is small all right, measuring just 1 mm (0.04 inches) thick. It includes a photo diode(PD), 5 LEDs, and integrated circuitry. Part of the reason for the module’s slight depth is LG’s innovative printed circuit board (PCB) process that embeds the circuitry rather than mounts it on top of the PCB. The photo diode, for example, can be mounted and connected directly onto the board rather than on a separate layer. The extra thinness also has the benefit of lowering power consumption. The newly developed optical sensor attains medical device grade sensitivity, according to LG, in part because inner gold plating increases luminescence while minimizing absorption. The result is a more efficient and more accurate sensor.
The LG sensor module is designed to measure heart rates, stress indices, and oxygen saturation levels. By decreasing power consumption and size and at the same time increasing accuracy, the LG component could drive acceptance of Health Tech devices using this sensor module by consumers, healthcare providers, and government regulators. This module is in development with no announced availability date. LG is committed to building sensors for multiple sectors of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and with this thin optical sensor module, they are hoping to stake a claim in the category-leading Health Tech sector.