The demand for oximeters and wearable tech with SpO2 reading has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Kolkata-based company has now launched a smartphone app called CarePlix Vital’s that helps users monitor their SpO2 and pulse readings.
CarePlix Vital’s app uses the phone’s rear camera and flashlight to get the readings. Healthtech startup CareNow Healthcare, the company behindCarePlix Vital’s, told The Indian Express that the app makes use of an underlying tech called photoplethysmography or PPG.
“If you see the wearables and oximeters have infrared light sensors in them but for the phone, we just have the flashlight. Once we cover the rear camera and flashlight with the finger and start the scan for around 40 seconds, we are doing nothing but calculating the difference of light intensity and based on the difference we plot the PPG graph,” Subhabrata Paul, Co-Founder CareNow Healthcare said. Use the PPG graph readings, the app derives the SpO2 and pulse rate.
We have seen many apps and a few smartphones mimic the use case of a blood oxygen monitor. There are several wearable smartwatches and fitness bands that come with a dedicated SpO2 sensor. However, the readings across many of these wearables and apps have remained inconsistent when tested at the same time. CarePlix is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to get accurate readings. The AI helps determine the strength of the finger placement. The stronger the finger placement, the more are the chances of getting accurate readings.
Users need to place their finger properly on the rear camera and the LED flash for 40 seconds to get accurate readings. The readings are also saved on the cloud for future purposes provided there is an active internet connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
To prove its claim, the company conducted a clinical trial with 1200 individuals. “With the doctors in the hospital, the trials were mainly conducted in the OPD. Comparisons were made to test the accuracy and it was found that CarePlix Vital was 96 percent accurate with heartbeats while 98 percent accuracy in case of oxygen saturation,” Paul said.
Apple’s own Apple Watch Series 6 (Review) comes with a Blood Oxygen monitoring feature. The Watch uses the new blood oxygen sensor that is made up of four LED clusters and four photodiodes. Apple, at the launch, said that Blood Oxygen app measurements are not intended for medical use, including self-diagnosis or consultation with a doctor, and are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.
There are several other smartwatches under Rs 5,000 like the Amazfit Bip U Pro that come with blood oxygen monitoring support. However, most of these wearables offer inaccurate readings.