Sensors explored: Pulse oximeter

Pulse oximeter sensors 23 1530016040 5QBE column width inline

Taking a closer look at the tech inside your wearables, Via Wareable

Wearables just keep getting smarter. As more and more tech gets crammed into those smartwatches, sports watches and fitness trackers, it’s easy to lose track of exactly what that new tech does and what they can actually measure that will be of any use to you.

One thing we are starting to see crop up in devices is the pulse oximeter. Garmin’s put one into one of its sports watches for the first time, Fitbit’s done it too and a few years ago Withings packed one into a fitness tracker.

So why is putting a pulse oximeter inside of a wearable a big deal? We explore what it is, how it works and what it’s going to bring to the wearable party.

What is a pulse oximeter?

When we talk about pulse oximeters or pulse oximetry, we are delving into the realm of medical tech and talking about a device that’s able to measure oxygen levels or oxygen saturation in the blood and your heart rate. They can also be used to measure pulse rate too.

That tech usually takes form of a clip-on device that you place on your finger, a toe or even on your ear lobe. It uses red and infrared light sensors to detect the volume of oxygen levels, detecting changes in those oxygen levels. It measures the volume of oxygen based on the way the light passes through your finger and delivers the data to the device’s screen that will tell you the percentage of oxygen in your blood.

An oxygen saturation percentage greater than 95% is considered to be a normal reading. If you see a score of 92% or less, then it could be time to further investigate and find out whether it’s related to an as yet undetected health issue.

Learn more!


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage

Wearables — Monster-inspired costuming!

Electronics — How to make your own magnetic field probe!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Releases of MicroPython and CircuitPython and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 1/21/2022 Featuring Adafruit 7-Segment LED Matrix Backpack – STEMMA QT / qwiic! (Video)

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.