Vital signs sensor could transform smartphones

March 13, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Leman Micro Devices SA (Lausanne, Switzerland), a 2011 startup, is working on a sensor module and software that measures five "vital signs" of human health to medical accuracy and that the technology will be cheap enough to be included in all smartphones.

The company is pursuing medical regulatory approval for its technology in the United States and Europe and 12 other territories that together cover 97 percent of the available smartphone market. The five vital signs are temperature, pulse and respiration rates, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure and give rise to the name of the module – V sensor. The LMD technology will enable users to check their health in 60 seconds, the company said.


Mark-Eric Jones, CEO of Leman Micro Devices

Importantly for LMD's business model of selling approved medical modules to go inside smartphones, LMD has obtained agreement from medical regulators -- including the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) -- to treat the smartphone into which LMD's technology is fitted as an "accessory" to the medical device. This means that smartphone makers will not have to seek their own medical approval. Mark-Eric Jones, co-founder and CEO of Leman Micro Devices (LMD), told EE Times Europe that he expects approvals from these authorities within months and to have design wins for the V sensor module in smartphones in the second half of 2017.

Jones said that the module would cost less than $5 initially but in time it would reduce to less than $1 and effectively all smartphones could be equipped with a vital-signs monitor system, just as today they come with a dual camera.

Next: How the measurements are made