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Date: 03-03-13

Strapless continuous heart rate monitor built using Bluetooth chip

Nordic Semiconductor ASA has designed strapless continuous heart rate monitor for athletes using its nRF8001 Bluetooth low energy Connectivity IC to communicate live or stored training data directly from the wrist to any Bluetooth v4.0 enabled smartphone or device.

The MIO ALPHA is designed for both serious amateur and professional athletes and employs a unique electro-optical cell with a pair of optical sensors on the underside of the watch to track blood flow volume in the wrist as it pulsates with the rhythm of the heart to extrapolate heart rate.

“This technology enables the MIO ALPHA sport watch to measure a user's heart rate without an uncomfortable strap at performance speeds up to 12mph [19km/h], with the same accuracy as traditional EKG/ECG [electrocardiogram] based heart-rate straps,” comments Emily Rothwell, VP of Sales and Marketing at Physical Enterprises Inc., the company behind the MIO ALPHA.

"Achieving this level of end-user simplicity without compromising accuracy compared to a traditional heart-rate strap wasn't easy," admits Rothwell. "An onboard motion detector and built-in noise filtration software developed by consumer electronics giant Philips compensate for arm movements and perspiration typical of fast running and cycling, which can all interfere with blood flow measurements."

Due to low power consumption of the chip MIO ALPHA's built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery offers up to 10 hours of 'live' heart-rate smartphone-linked monitoring (its most energy intensive operating mode).

In operation, the MIO ALPHA can be used as a standalone device and includes features such as workout timers, continuous heart rate display and audible heart-rate zone alerts, or in conjunction with popular smartphone apps such as MapMyRun, RunKeeper and Wahoo Fitness.

The MIO ALPHA is on sale in the U.S. now for $199 exclusively from alphaheartrate.com.

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