Young engineers working on next-gen wearables

Our CTO Aki recently visited Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore to judge student projects aiming to create their own heart-rate monitors, and share about how similar technologies are used by Healthzilla in real life.

The biomedical engineering students had spent one month to build their own hardware to record and visualize a heart beat. The students had to choose and integrate their components into a prototype electrical circuit, with the resulting heart beat signal visualized through a blinking LED. Some students chose to use traditional electrical leads as the source, while others opted for a photosensitive sensor placed on the fingertip.

In their presentations, students shared about their decision making, design, and of course troubleshooting especially around noise reduction in the source signal. Given how much is happening in the world of cheap miniaturized sensors in wearable devices, it was fun to see a group of young would-be engineers thinking about the future.

The winning team (photo below) used a similar scientific principle as the Healthzilla app, in reading the heart-rate signal from the user’s fingertip. While Healthzilla does all the processing of the raw signal in software, the students attempted to design a hardware-only solution incl. strategies for noise filtering. Their well-documented and communicated journey through several designs into a final working solution earned the win.

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If you’d like to see how this kind of technology works, you can download Healthzilla for iOS and run your own fingertip scan in 60 seconds.