From Consumer Earbuds to Healthtech/Medtech Ear-Probes
Ear-worn devices such as earbuds, earplugs and hearing aids have undergone many changes in recent years. For example, earbuds technology has evolved to become True Wireless (TWS), so the only “Blue Ocean” remaining is to add smartness and big data collection capabilities, and the only possible market with these is to add bio-signals detection for health.
Smart earbuds (also known as hearables) are the only type of electronics that people commonly carry with them other than their mobile phones. Hence, while users may not wear the earbuds for 24 hours a day, as long as the earbuds are within reach, we are measuring bio-signals.
Whether it is for a 3 minute short health check routine with a hearable using WBD101 technology (Heart Rate HR, Respiratory Rate, Body Temp, HR Variability HRV, HR Recovery HRR and Blood Oxygen Saturation – SpO2) and a Blood Pressure monitor on the side, or during a 30 minute phone call with our hearables (measure HRV/Stress or Body Temperature monitoring at workplace for early Covid-19 detection), a 45 minute bus journey (reduce stress level by assigning meditation music according to HRV/stress level), a 1-2 hours of exercise (measures HR, HR Recovery) or during the 8 hours of sleep (measuring respiratory rate, SpO2, HR Variability, motion or HR), we can make use of “hearables” monitoring in the ear to measure a user’s physical condition.
In essence, hearables can detect bio-signals such as resting HR, respiratory rate, SpO2, body temperature, exercise HR, RR-interval/HRV, HRV (anxiety/fatigue/mood), post-exercise HRR, VO2max, dynamic HR, snoring and more. This ease of bio-signal collection via a hearable allows users to analyse their bio-signal data in different scenarios more accurately, rather than indiscriminately recording the bio-signals data over 24 hours and trying to analyse it without context of what activities happened at different stages.
Besides smart earbuds, sleep earplugs have evolved with new functions added as more people experience sleep issues. For example, it started with just the elimination of external noise, to being able to play soothing music, to being able to detect symptoms of sleep apnea (OSA) (through detecting snoring, SpO2, respiratory rate, HRV, HR and motion).
This market of smart earplugs is ripe for a few reasons, including more people are remaining single (hence no partner to let them know that they are snoring), rising obesity rate and increased work stress, hence increasing the occurrence of OSA. Adding sensing to earplugs would allow users to get more information that could help them decide if they should seek professional medical help.
Finally, with an ageing population, devices that enhance hearing are increasingly in high demand. Adding sensing to such hearing enhancement devices allow elderly users to make informed decisions for their own health, and not just for remote monitoring purposes by their caregivers.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly are especially vulnerable. The detection of early COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath (respiratory rate) and fatigue would be useful. According to published scientific papers, the HRV of COVID-19 patients is low regardless of symptomatic or asymptomatic cases.
These different applications are the reasons that Well Being Digital (WBD101) focuses on sensing technology for “hearables”. We collaborate internationally with a range of universities, hospitals and research centres to carry out different clinical trials, so as to get high accuracy for our technology and be able to provide clinical trial data for customers applying for regulatory approvals such as FDA, NMPA, CE-MDR and HSA.
Our technology has won numerous awards worldwide, including at the inaugural Hong Kong City I&T Grand Challenge (Innovation Award), both the Gold and Special Awards at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva (an international competition jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization), the Best Wearable Mobile Technology at the 2016 Mobile World Congress and the Most Innovative Award at the 11th Guangdong-Hong Kong IoT Award Competition.
Our sensor array technology (“ActivHearts”) has also been adopted by various top-tier consumer earbuds models, such as Philips TAA7306, Philips TAA4205, Philips SN503, JBL Reflect Fit, TCL Actv 200BT, Pioneer SEC-S801BT, 233621 Sense, Hera Leto Temperature, Cleer Edge Pulse and BEEM United Be-Actv S-100, all of which are available for purchase in-store or online around the world, evident of the universal strength and coverage of our 80+ patents.
Our target markets include the consumer earbuds segments as well as the in-ear probes for the healthtech/medtech markets. By enabling these hearables to have accurate, continuous and non-invasive sensing, we aspire to empower users to make better health decisions based on their own health data.
benefits of using infra red
Access to Accurate Bio-signals for All
Our technology has accumulated over 1000 miles worth of purely accuracy testing, comprising of data from different ear shapes, gender and skin colours. This aggregate data can improve consumers’ physical well-being through a wide range of aeriobic exercises.
measuring heart rate (change in blood volume of heart) via light transmission or reflection
ActivHearts™ - Probably the World’s Smallest Heart Rate Sensing Tech for Smart Hearables
One of the challenges of PPG technology is that the PPG sensors pick up a lot of noise when the user is exercising, as it is very sensitive to motion. WBD101 technology uses multiple source and sensor pairs (OpticalFusion™) and advance digital signal processing (ActivHearts™) to remove these motion noise.
The latest generation of SmartBody™ processors makes use of Bluetooth Smart technology (BLE) that means you can easily have your physiological information displayed on your smartphone apps.
what can you deduce from heart rate?
Calories and energy expenditure
Maximum Oxygen Uptake (VO2max)
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
Metabolic Equivalent of Task (METs)
Heart Rate recovery time
Fatigue / Stress / Emotion
Training zones for Fat Burn, Muscle Build and to avoid over-exertion of the heart
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
R-R Interval (RRI)