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LED light, sensors to enable next-gen medical devices

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ams? sensor? LED? photonics?

During the annual press day organised by ams, COO Thomas Stockmeier and Sajol Ghoshal, senior director for emerging sensing strategies at the company talked about multi-spectral sensing and photonics. They also shared their perspective on the central role that LED lighting and associated sensors could play in our lives.

Smart lighting is no longer just about digital dimming or automatic lumen and colour maintenance, but parts such as the company's AS7221 smart lighting manager (with an embedded true-colour Tri-Stimulus RGB sensor) could be used to perform colour tuning to complement daylight intensity and directly impact our circadian clock.

In fact, such unobtrusive wavelength modulation (mostly going unnoticed) can affect our moods and productivity, and this is an early area of research that could find many applications, said Stockmeier. This may be for optimal health and relaxation at home or on the contrary to increase your alertness level at the work place. This sort of light-based manipulation is akin to forced medication, but if it's good for productivity and means fewer sickies, sure more than one company will love it.

Ghoshal sees a bigger picture for LED lighting, "lighting is a natural sensing hub" he said, with lighting sockets and power readily available in every building. So ams wants to create the sensing solutions to fill the future market needs, and according to Ghoshal, this means a move from today's dumb LEDs to complete spectrally-cognitive sensor platforms, LED lights doubling as multi-sensor hubs to increase context awareness and accelerate IoT deployment along a trend he calls the Internet of Awareness.

Internet of Awareness

Implemented as self-learning luminaires, such IoT sensor hubs could serve for occupancy and motion detection, navigation, space utilisation monitoring, safety and security (smoke/fire detection), air quality monitoring or circadian compensation.

Pushing their data to the cloud for analytics, these context-aware sensors would enable new cloud driven services and solutions, going beyond local controls to support self-learning connected cloud services.

Here again, multi-spectral sensing is on the agenda at ams, for the detection and identification of environmental biometrics.

"This is where our advance in integrated nano-optics will differentiate us from competition," Ghoshal highlighted, sharing some slides on interference filters and lenses built on CMOS. Using advanced optical packaging and TSVs, the company is capable of stacking multiple optical filters on the same die from visible to near infrared wavelengths (380nm to 1000nm) with integrated digital processing for spectral classification and identification.

Another well-being related product, the AS7000 launched during the event is the company's first product in its biosensor family, a total solution enabling 24/7 heart rate measurement for wearables. The AS7000 platform solution includes an integrated optical sensor module accompanied together with software to deliver what the company said are the industry-leading, highest accuracy optical heart rate measurement (HRM) and heart rate variation (HRV) readings.

Designed within a 6.1mm x 4.1mm x 1mm opto-mechanical package, the AS7000 relies on photoplethysmography (PPG) to derive the pulse rate by sampling light modulated by the blood vessels, which expand and contract as blood pulses through them.

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