This week the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Samsung that reveals that future Samsung portable and mobile devices may be used to monitor various parameters of an object, for example, state variables such as heart rate and blood pressure, pulse rate, blood flow velocity and skin conditions of a user, using a new laser speckle interferometric methodology. The portable/mobile devices that may use this new methodology include Galaxy smartphones and tablets in addition to Galaxy Gear. The patent filing reveals that Samsung acquired three of the patents behind this invention from Russian developers.
According to Samsung, "A laser beam emitted from the laser light source is scattered on a skin surface of a wrist of a person, and a speckle pattern formed by scattering of coherent light is detected by the detector and then recorded. Pulsation in arteries causes a skin movement that affects the detected speckle pattern. To detect pulsation having a signal to noise ratio that is high enough to perform accurate measurement, the influence of a vibration caused by a displacement between the mobile device and an object under examination may be removed. The detection of pulsation may be achieved by monitoring, in real time, parameters used to detect optimal conditions."
Samsung's patent FIG. 1 illustrates a laser speckle interferometric system for a mobile device that includes a laser light source, a detector, processing and memory units. Further, the laser speckle interferometric system may further include a display for displaying a pulse rate or blood pressure (refer to FIG. 3 below). The display is an example of the output unit. As another example, the output unit of the laser speckle interferometric system may include a speaker for outputting the pulse rate or blood pressure as a sound signal or a voice signal or a communication unit (e.g., communicator) for transmitting data to another device in a wired or wireless manner.
Samsung's patent FIG. 2 noted above illustrates a flowchart of a laser speckle interferometric method for a mobile device.
Other Device Candidates
Samsung's patent FIG. 12 noted above illustrates a laser speckle interferometric system for a mobile device that includes laser light source 1, the detector 2, main body 3, a strap fixer 12, the processing unit 14, and the memory unit 15. The strap fixer may be an arm strap worn on an arm of the user. The laser speckle interferometric system may be applied to a mobile device of a cuff type to be worn on an arm of the user. For example, the laser speckle interferometric system according to an exemplary embodiment may be used when a brachial artery is used for measurement and correction of vital signs such as the blood pressure and heart rate.
Samsung filed their US patent application back in September 2015. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
For those that are curious about this new method of non-contact biometric monitoring, there are a number of PDF's on this subject matter that you could check out in a Google Search result found here.
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