Wearable Health Monitoring Sensor Debuts in Japanese Market

Jan 19, 2010
Shinichi Kato, Tech-On!
The sensor attached to the chest
The sensor attached to the chest
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The dimensions of the sensor module are approximately 30 (L) x 30 (W) x 5mm (D).
The dimensions of the sensor module are approximately 30 (L) x 30 (W) x 5mm (D).
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The sensor module comes in various designs.
The sensor module comes in various designs.
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

WIN Human Recorder Co Ltd, a Japan-based venture firm, launched a health monitoring service that uses a sensor network.

In the service, Health-related information is collected and analyzed by a small sensor attached to a human body, and it is viewed and managed on a mobile phone or a PC. The company commercialized the health monitoring system, which is called "human recorder system," based on the research results of the Advanced Institute of Wearable Information Networks (WIN), a nonprofit organization established by researchers at the University of Tokyo. WIN is a group led by Kiyoshi Itao, professor emeritus at the university.

The sensor is used to measure electrocardiographic signals, heart rate, brain waves, accelerated velocity, body temperature, respiration, pulse wave and so forth. WIN helped develop, for example, a program to analyze each data and determine health condition.

This time, WIN Human Recorder released the "HRS-I," a system that measures electrocardiographic signals, body surface temperature and human movements at the same time by attaching a sensor with wireless communication capability to the chest and determines health condition by using the software. Human movements are detected by a three-axis acceleration sensor.

The dimensions and weight of the sensor module are approximately 30 (L) x 30 (W) x 5mm (D) and 7g, respectively. Because of the small size and the light weight, the module does not give uncomfortable feeling when attached to a human body, the company said.

The sensor module has a 2.4GHz wireless communication function and can be continuously operated for three to four days with a CR2032 button battery. Because the obtained data can be wirelessly transmitted to a PC or a mobile phone, it is possible to monitor the health condition of an elderly person who lives alone in a remote place via the Internet.

For example, stress level can be measured based on the state of autonomic nerves determined from an electrocardiogram, and the fluctuation of heartbeat period can be analyzed.

The expected users of the HRS-I are companies that provide health monitoring services. The pricing of the service is more than ¥10,000 (approx US$111) per month for the rental of the software and more than ¥30,000 for the purchase of the sensor.

Marubeni Information Systems Co Ltd, a sales agent for the HRS-I, aims at sales of about ¥1 billion in a year after the release of the system and about ¥5 billion after three years.