Verily researching a new finger wearable continuous blood pressure monitor

finger wearable blood pressure monitor

Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Google is researching a new form of digital artery blood pressure monitor that can be worn on your finger and determine your systolic and diastolic readings.

Blood pressure is one of the fundamental and important vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration) and is closely related to arterial health, which is considered to be an important indicator of health. Therefore, blood pressure is a kind of health indicator that needs to be managed with great importance. 

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Smartwatches in general have not been very successful in helping with determining blood pressure. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is probably the only leading smartwatch device that currently has blood pressure monitoring capabilities.

Smartwatches such as Samsung use photoplethysmograph (PPG) to read out in real-time the intravascular blood volume change and then to calculate BP. The red light LED on the back of the watch helps with this.sensors on the back of Apple Watch Series 6

Other cuffless monitoring of blood pressure involve using Ballistocardiography along with optical sensors (PPG sensor for SpO2). Most wearables using optical sensors to determine blood pressure use pulse transit time estimates as markers of blood pressure and some of these readings using PPG sensors have challenges with accuracy.

Consumers today use at-home monitoring blood pressure cuff based devices from Omron or Withings to monitor their BP but this requires users to be disciplined and take regular readings.

Google’s Verily is envisioning a finger based wearable device that can be worn by the user throughout the day or periodically to monitor the user’s blood pressure.

The blood pressure data from the wearable can alert the user and/or user’s physician to readings outside of designated ranges, or transmit the data to an electronic medical record associated with the user.

How would Verily’s Blood Pressure finger wearable work?

Verily’s blood pressure monitoring device 100, device 100 for short, may be worn or engaged with a digital artery, e.g., a finger, to determine the blood pressure of a user, along with other diagnostic data.

The finger-wearable device will monitor blood pressure in a digital artery, such as the digital artery on the ulnar or radial sides for example. 

The digital artery blood pressure monitor may include a tactile sensor array disposed on an inner surface of a cuff.

The tactile sensor array will use capacitive sensors to detect pressure changes within a digital artery of a finger due to blood flow and determine blood pressure based on the capacitance values.

The finger-wearable device may use oscillometry, auscultation, or applanation tonometry to estimate a user’s blood pressure at the digital artery, which may subsequently be converted to clinical or brachial blood pressure.

In some embodiments, the other diagnostic data may include heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), temperature, and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). 

The research on this new wearable came to light based on a recent patent filing (US20200337571A1)  that was filed on July 8th,2020 and approved today.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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