OURA partners in PhotonWear to develop more accurate wearable sensors

Photonic sensor project could unlock future wearables
PhotonWear GE Healthcare + OURA partner in sensor project photo 1
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Oura is part of a new partnership that's looking to develop photonic sensors for wearable devices.

As reported by PULSE, the company is one of several Finland-based companies – along with GE Healthcare – that are looking beyond the current generation of PPG sensors.

PhotonWear is looking to use high-fidelity multispectral measurements to boost the accuracy of wearables. The new technology would have the potential to better read glucose or blood pressure levels, and boost accuracy for wearables to medical grade levels.

Photonic optical sensors contain a new kind of photodetector, which can be 50% more sensitive compared to traditional technology. That's according to ElFys, one of the PhotonWear hardware partners. 

“We’re focused on improving sensor accuracy so that they are fit for medical use, while also making them much more comfortable to wear,” said Research Team Leader Teemu Alajoki, coordinator of the PhotonWear project.

“We aim for flexible or even stretchy, extremely comfortable skin-tight electronics that are unnoticeable and reliable even in demanding use cases.”

Finland is a forerunner for photonic sensor development, which uses light to collect data.

We're not sure what role that Oura will play in the project, but given its importance in the consumer wearables and wellness space, we feel it will have a critical part. 

And it's not the first project to look beyond the PPG sensors we have today.

At Wareable we’ve reported on several companies exploring sensors away from the traditional optical array, which is still a mainstay of wearable devices.

Movano is experimenting with RF sensors, while Rockley Photonics is also trialing spectrophotometers.

And the technology could have massive implications for racial bias in optical sensors.

We'll be keeping a close eye on this project.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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