Silicon Labs has announced a new optical heart rate monitor (HRM) solution that it says can cut down on costs and complexity for developers working on wrist-based wearables. Called the Si1144 HRM, it’s a heart rate monitor solution aimed at a growing market.
The solution uses an optical sensor and a green LED to detect heart rate biometrics through the wrist. The sensor module has a small footprint, Silicon Labs says, and the solution runs the company’s HRM algorithm on a low-power EFM32 Gecko microcontroller, allowing for considerable efficiency. Summarizing its advantages in a press release, Silicon Labs VP Daniel Cooley called it “an accurate, easy-to-implement and cost-efficient solution priced well below competitive offerings.”
Building on its previous iterations, the company has developed the Si1144 HRM in anticipation of major growth in wrist-based wearables, predicting that by 2018, 100 million HRM-enabled devices will be sold annually. The company’s excitement tracks with that of market researchers such as Tractica, which last year started its own wearables advisory service; and many such devices are already becoming prominent in the market, ranging from popular wrist-based fitness trackers to the nascent smartwatches that could soon—and in some cases, already do—feature these kinds of advanced biometric capabilities. OEMs in this area will increasingly want efficient, design-friendly HRM sensors, and the Si1144 HRM could therefore prove popular going forward.