In monitoring the body’s condition, the head – its “control center” – is among the best locations to check, and a tech startup, OxyStrap, has done just that.
OxyStrap is a game-changing fitness tracker with accuracy and safety in mind. Worn on the head like the average sports headband, the new tracker promises to measure the vital signs on its user’s body with a new level of accuracy comparable to medical equipment – on the move, outdoors, and under any weather.
Developed by an interdisciplinary team of medical doctors, engineers, and athletes over 10 years of research, OxyStrap also offers customizable real-time audio announcements to the user. The fitness tracker allows users to hear about their heart rate, body temperature, and oxygen saturation levels – leaving the user to focus on their routine, without the need to stop and periodically check their wrists for updates.
Additionally, the developer team has even tested the OxyStrap on Mount Everest, proving its safety and functionality at a location that has seen several reports of people collapsing or experiencing altitude sickness as a lack of the increasing elevation and lack of oxygen saturation monitoring.
The activity tracker has already earned its US Patent, and is working towards approval of foreign patents for its production and distribution in other territories. To start bringing the safer, more accurate workout companion, OxyStrap International has launched its Kickstarter campaign.
Optimal Monitoring Position for Sensors
Conventional wearable fitness trackers have been mostly limited to being worn on the wrist, which is not the best location for oxygen saturation and heart rate sensing, especially during motion. A press release from OxyStrap International, the startup behind the revolutionary tech, explains that the head is the only part of the body that maintains sufficient blood supply which makes it ideal for accurate sensor readings.
Additionally, the head supposedly has an anatomy perfect for the necessary reflective oximetry – measuring pulse by sending light through the skin to the bones. Lastly the head is much less mobile compared to other parts of the body, especially during activities, which also reduces risks of motion interference.
“With OxyStrap, we built our device with the medical knowledge that the head is the ideal location for accurate tracking,” said Dr. Ron Gertsch, MD, a bariatric physician, surgeon, and the founder of OxyStrap International.
A 2019 study from the peer-reviewed journal Sensors, conducted by a team of Australian scientists, designed a comparative study for sensing vitals across different parts of the body. The researchers behind the study used photoplethysmography (PPG) – a non-invasive technique of using light and its interactions with tissues, blood vessels, and plasma to detect volume changes. They then placed the sensors on eight locations across the body, including the temples, forehead, along the rib cage, fingertips, back of the neck, lower back, as well as in the wrist and over the tibia (shinbone).
For heart rate measurements, researches found the finger, closely followed by the forehead, to be the most accurate point during rest. In motion, i.e. walking participants, the forehead surpassed the finger in terms of accuracy. Similar findings were reported for the oxygen saturation (SpO2) datasets.
In respiration, the finger, lower back, and rib cage, all show close detection readings with the base form data, with the forehead not having a waveform in this phase of the study. Overall, the fingertip sensor was found to be most accurate, closely followed by the forehead, except for the respiration study. The wrist location displayed the most error across all trials.