Microsoft is working on a head-mounted display that it claims can continuously and unobtrusively monitor blood pressure.
Given the moniker Glabella, a research paper from the wearable's chief designers has been published detailing the device, which Microsoft has now also been granted a patent for. As described, the glasses come with optical sensors built into the frame, where they are then able to take pulse wave readings from three different areas of the face.
By calculating the time between when blood is ejected from the heart and when it reaches these three locations - known as the pulse transit time (PTT) - the device is then able to give a blood pressure reading.
As the paper continues, it indicates that, in testing, it was able to show a correlation between PTT and the user's systolic blood pressure. This number denotes the amount of pressure in one's arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle, and is generally considered to be more useful than diastolic pressure, a figure which measures the blood pressure when the heart is between beats.
As a result, the researchers concluded that the wearable has the potential to serve as a day-to-day capture device - one which requires no input or behaviour change from the user in order to gain a continuous measurement. However, whether Microsoft actually plans to make such a device or design available to consumers remains to be seen, of course.
We already know that cuff-less blood pressure monitors are at least being explored at ground level by many of Microsoft's rivals, such as Apple and Samsung, while dedicated blood pressure watches, the Omron HeartGuide and Asus Vivowatch BP, will be on wrists before the end of the year.
This is an entirely different proposition to ones we've seen rumoured from other companies, but the nature of the findings suggest Microsoft may be willing to explore the concept further in the future. Or, you know, the patent will gather dust, much like thousands of other filings from technology giants - stay tuned to find out.
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