(19)
(11)EP 3 308 695 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
14.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/33

(21)Application number: 16193376.7

(22)Date of filing:  11.10.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61B 5/00  (2006.01)
A61B 5/024  (2006.01)

(54)

PHOTOPLETHYSMOGRAPHY

PHOTOPLETHYSMOGRAPIE

PHOTOPLÉTHYSMOGRAPHIE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
18.04.2018 Bulletin 2018/16

(73)Proprietor: Nokia Technologies Oy
02610 Espoo (FI)

(72)Inventors:
  • Myyryläinen, Lea
    02360 Espoo (FI)
  • Pohjonen, Helena
    FIN-02360 Espoo (FI)

(74)Representative: Swindell & Pearson Limited 
48 Friar Gate
Derby DE1 1GY
Derby DE1 1GY (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2016/096391
US-B2- 7 641 614
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNOLOGICAL FIELD



    [0001] Embodiments of the present invention relate to photoplethysmography. In particular, they relate to measurement of one or more physiological parameters such as heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and/or peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) using photoplethysmography.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Photoplethysmography relates to performing volumetric measurement of an organ using optics. Pulse oximetry is a photoplethysmographic method of measuring oxygen saturation in blood.

    [0003] A person's heart rate, heart rate variability and peripheral capillary oxygen saturation may be determined using such a method. In transmissive photoplethysmography, light signals are sensed by the light sensor after they have been emitted through tissue by the light source. In reflective photoplethysmography, light signals are sensed by the light sensor after being reflected by the tissue.

    BRIEF SUMMARY



    [0004] According to the invention there is provided an apparatus, comprising: a photoplethysmography light source; a first photoplethysmography light sensor configured to sense light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source; a further photoplethysmography light sensor positioned to sense light signals, emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and reflected from skin tissue, for reflective photoplethysmography; and an actuator configured to lift a surface of skin tissue in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to the first photoplethysmography light sensor, for transmissive photoplethysmography.

    [0005] According to the invention, there is also provided a corresponding method and computer program.

    [0006] The invention is defined in the appended claims.

    [0007] WO 2016/096391 discloses an apparatus comprising a sensor for measuring a physiological parameter of a subject, wherein the physiological parameter sensor is adapted to be worn by the subject; an actuator comprising an electro-active polymer material, EAP, portion for adjusting the position of the physiological parameter sensor relative to the subject; a feedback sensor for measuring movement of the physiological parameter sensor and/or the subject; a controller configured to process the measurements of the feedback sensor and to adjust the position of the actuator based on information from the feedback sensor.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION



    [0008] For a better understanding of various examples that are useful for understanding the detailed description, reference will now be made by way of example only to the accompanying drawings in which:

    fig. 1 illustrates a schematic of an apparatus;

    fig. 2 illustrates a schematic of the apparatus being worn by a person;

    fig. 3 illustrates a first flow chart of a method;

    fig. 4 illustrates a schematic of the apparatus being worn by a person when the actuator has lifted a surface of skin tissue; and

    fig. 5 illustrates a second flow chart of a method.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0009] Embodiments of the invention relate to relate to photoplethysmography, and, in particular, measurement of one or more physiological parameters such as heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and/or peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) using photoplethysmography.

    [0010] A technical effect of embodiment of the invention is the provision of transmissive photoplethysmography without a need to position a photoplethysmography light source and a photoplethysmography light sensor on opposing faces of tissue. This technical effect is provided by actuator which lifts a surface of skin tissue in order to create an optical path through the skin from the photoplethysmography light source to the photoplethysmography light sensor, for transmissive photoplethysmography.

    [0011] Fig. 1 illustrates a schematic of an apparatus 10. The apparatus comprises one or more processors 12, at least one memory 14, at least one photoplethysmography light source 20, at least one actuator 22, at least one photoplethysmography light sensor 24, at least one transceiver 26, at least one display 28 and user input circuitry 30.

    [0012] The photoplethysmography light source(s) 20 may, for example, be one or more light emitting diodes (LEDs). The light source(s) 20 may, for example, be configured to emit visible and/or infrared light signals. The visible light signals may have a wavelength in the range 500-600 nanometers (green light) and/or a wavelength in the range 600-700 nanometers (red light). The processor 12 is configured to control the emission of light signals by the light source(s) 20.

    [0013] The photoplethysmography light sensor(s) 24 may, for example, include one or more photodetectors and/or one or more image sensors, such as one or more charge-coupled devices (CCDs) and/or one or more complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors. Each of the light sensors 24 is sensitive to light emitted by the light source(s) 20. The processor 12 is configured to receive inputs from the light sensor(s) 24 representing sensed light signals.

    [0014] The processor 12 is configured to control the actuation of the actuator 22. An analogue to digital converter may be present between the processor 12 and the actuator 22 to convert digital control signals provided by the processor 12 into analogue electrical signals that are output to the actuator 22.

    [0015] The actuator 22 is configured to lift a surface of skin tissue when the apparatus 10 is worn by a person and the actuator 22 is placed adjacent the surface of the skin tissue. The actuator 22 may sealingly attach to the surface of the skin tissue and lift the surface of the skin tissue by a suction effect. The actuator 22 may, for example, include an electro-active material, such as an electro-active polymer, which changes its shape and/or configuration in response to the application of an electrical signal to the electro-active material. In some implementations, the actuator 22 is an electro-active polymer pump.

    [0016] The one or more transceivers 26 are configured to establish a communication link between the apparatus 10 and one or more other entities, such as a local device (for example, a mobile telephone or a computer) or a remote device (such as a remote server). The communication link might, for example, be a wired communication link such as a Universal Serial Bus (USB) link or a wireless communication link such as a Bluetooth link, an IEEE 802.11 link or a cellular link. The processor 12 is configured to provide outputs to and receive inputs from the transceiver(s) 26.

    [0017] The one or more transceivers 28 provide the apparatus 10 with the ability to communicate with the other devices, enabling it to potentially form part of a system of devices that communicate together and/or part of a cloud-based health platform/service.

    [0018] The display 28 is configured to display information to a wearer/user of the apparatus 10. The display 28 may, for example, be a liquid crystal display (LCD), an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display or a quantum dot (QD) display. The processor 12 is configured to control the display 28.

    [0019] The user input circuitry 30 is configured to receive inputs from a user and provide corresponding inputs to the processor 12. The user input circuitry 30 may, for example, include mechanical input devices such as one or more keys or dials. At least part of the user input circuitry 30 might be combined with the display 28 in the form of a touch sensitive display 32.

    [0020] The processor(s) 12 is/are described as a single item for ease of explanation in this document, but in practice multiple processors may be provided. The processor 12 may be a single core or multi-core processor.

    [0021] The processor 12 is configured to read from and write to the memory 14. The processor 12 may also comprise an output interface via which data and/or commands are output by the processor 12 and an input interface via which data and/or commands are input to the processor 12.

    [0022] The memory 14 stores a computer program 16 comprising computer program instructions (computer program code) 18 that controls the operation of the apparatus 10 when loaded into the processor 12. The computer program instructions 18, of the computer program 16, provide the logic and routines that enables the apparatus to perform at least some aspects of the methods illustrated in figs 3 and 5. The processor 12 by reading the memory 14 is able to load and execute the computer program 16.

    [0023] As illustrated in fig. 1, the computer program 16 may arrive at the apparatus 12 via any suitable delivery mechanism 40. The delivery mechanism 40 may be, for example, a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium, a computer program product, a memory device, a record medium such as a compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) or digital versatile disc (DVD), an article of manufacture that tangibly embodies the computer program 16. The delivery mechanism may be a signal configured to reliably transfer the computer program 16. The apparatus 10 may propagate or transmit the computer program 16 as a computer data signal.

    [0024] Although the memory 14 is illustrated as a single component/circuitry it may be implemented as one or more separate components/circuitry some or all of which may be integrated/removable and/or may provide permanent/semi-permanent/ dynamic/cached storage.

    [0025] The elements 12, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 are operationally coupled and any number or combination of intervening elements can exist (including no intervening elements). In the illustrated example, each of the elements 12, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 is housed at least partially within a housing 34.

    [0026] Fig. 2 illustrates a schematic of the apparatus 10 being worn by a person. The apparatus 10 has been positioned adjacent to a surface 71 of skin tissue 70. In some examples, the apparatus 10 may include a band which holds the apparatus 10 in place against the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70. In other examples, the apparatus 10 might, for instance, be adhered in place on the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70.

    [0027] In the fig. 2 example, the display 28 is positioned on an outer surface of the apparatus 10 of the wearer, such that it can be viewed in use. A battery 29 is also present, which is positioned between the processor 12 and the display 28 in this example. Other electronics, such as an analogue to digital converter, may be positioned adjacent the processor 12.

    [0028] The actuator 22 can be seen in fig. 2 positioned adjacent to, and in contact with, the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70. In this example, the actuator 22 is an electro-active polymer pump which comprises a membrane 63, electrodes 61 and at least one resilient member/spring 65. The membrane 63 is formed from an electro-active polymer. The spring 65 is configured to urge the membrane 63 away from the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70.

    [0029] In this example, the spring 65 is located in a central position on one surface/face of the membrane 63 and the electrodes 61 may be ring-shaped electrodes which surround the spring 65 on that surface. Electrodes 63 are also positioned on the other surface/face of the membrane 63.

    [0030] The apparatus 10 is configured to sealingly attach to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70, around a perimeter which surrounds the membrane 63. Fig. 2 illustrates a situation in which the processor 12 is not causing an electric signal to be applied to the electrodes 61 (that is, the actuator 22 is in its non-actuated state).

    [0031] As explained above in relation to Fig. 1, the elements 12, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 are housed at least partially within a housing 34. The housing 34 defines an internal cavity 35 which enables the membrane 63 to move within the housing 34 when the actuator 22 is actuated. This is explained in further detail below.

    [0032] The apparatus 10 illustrated in Fig. 2 includes at least one light source 20 and at least one light sensor 24 located in a first position 55 (on the membrane 63) and at least one light source 20 and at least one light sensor 24 located in a second position 56 (on the membrane 63). The first and second positions 55, 56 are different. In fig. 2, each of the light sources 20 and light sensors 24 is located on the same surface of the membrane 63, adjacent to the electrodes 63. The electrodes 63 and at least some or all of the light sources 20 and light sensors 24 may be formed in the same integrated circuit.

    [0033] Fig. 3 illustrates a flow chart according to a method according to embodiments of the invention. Initially, the apparatus 10 is applied to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 as illustrated in fig. 2. Subsequently, at block 301 in fig. 3, the processor 12 controls the actuator 22 to lift the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue 70 from a light source 20 to a light sensor 24, for transmissive photoplethysmography. That is, the processor 12 causes actuation of the actuator 22 which in turn causes the lifting of the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70.

    [0034] Fig. 4 illustrates the actuator 22 in its actuated state. In actuating the actuator 22, the processor 12 causes an electrical signal to be applied to the electrodes 61 which creates an electrostatic force between the electrodes 61 on opposing faces of the membrane 63, bringing them closer together and squeezing the membrane 63. This causes the membrane 63 to expand in dimensions that are perpendicular to the applied electric field and weakens the membrane 63. The membrane 63 then deforms under the force applied by the spring 65. The internal cavity 35 in the housing 34 provides a volume into which the membrane 63 can move, as illustrated in fig. 4.

    [0035] The apparatus 10 is sealingly attached to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70, around a perimeter which surrounds the membrane 63. Movement of the membrane 63 provides a suction effect, in which pressure/a force is applied to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 that causes the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 to lift, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 4. The magnitude of the contact pressure/force applied to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 depends upon the extent to which the membrane 63 is deformed, which in turn depends upon the electrical signal applied to the electrodes 61. The processor 12 is therefore able to adjust the magnitude of the applied contact pressure by appropriately controlling the electrical signal that is applied to the electrodes 61. The electrical signal that is applied to the electrodes 61 at an instance in time determines the position (the extent of deformation) of the membrane 63. If the processor 12 causes the application of an electrical signal to the electrodes 61 to cease, the actuator 22 returns to its non-actuated state, as illustrated in Fig. 2.

    [0036] It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that the term "lift" (as used in this document) does not necessarily refer to movement in a vertical dimension defined by the direction of the force of gravity, although it may do. It refers to the outwards movement of the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 from its original, natural position.

    [0037] After the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 has been lifted, transmissive photoplethysmography is performed by the apparatus 10 at block 302 in fig. 3 while the actuator 22 is in its actuated state using the newly created optical path(s) through the skin tissue 70. This may involve performing pulse oximetry. The processor 12 may, for example, perform blood flow analysis (such as capillary blood circulation analysis) by analysing the light signals sensed by the light sensors 24 to determine (quantify) at least one physiological parameter such as heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and/or peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2). Alternatively or additionally, the processor 12 may perform tissue analysis related to tissue flexibility, collagen, etc. using the light signals sensed by the light sensors 24.

    [0038] The processor 12 may cause the determined physiological parameter(s) may be transmitted to another apparatus by controlling one or more of the transceivers 26 to transmit an appropriate signal to the other apparatus.

    [0039] When the actuator 22 is in its actuated state, light emitted by the light source 20 located in the first position 55 travels along a new optical path through the skin tissue 70 that was created by movement of the membrane 63 and the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70, and is sensed by the light sensor 24 at the second position 56. The new optical path may also be created, at least in part, by a change in orientation of the light source 20 located in the first position 55 and/or a change in orientation of the light sensor 24 located in the second position 56 due to movement of the membrane 63 on which they reside.

    [0040] Light emitted by the light source 20 located in the second position 56 travels along a new optical path through the skin tissue 70 that was created by movement of the membrane 63 and the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70, and is sensed by the light sensor 24 at the first position 55. The new optical path may also be created, at least in part, by a change in orientation of the light source 20 located in the second position 56 and/or a change in orientation of the light sensor 24 located in the first position 55 due to movement of the membrane 63 on which they reside.

    [0041] The emission of light from the light source 20 located in the first position 55 is illustrated schematically by the arrow 53 in fig. 4. The emission of light from the light source 20 located in the second position 56 is illustrated schematically by the arrow 53 in fig. 4.

    [0042] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not necessary for the apparatus 10 to comprise multiple light sources 20 and multiple light sensors 24 in order to perform transmissive photoplethysmography (and pulse oximetry) in the manner described above in relation to fig. 3. A potential benefit of having multiple light sources 20 and multiple light sensors 24 will be described below in relation to fig. 5.

    [0043] The processor 12 analyses light signals emitted by the light sources 20 and sensed by the light sensors 24. The processor 12 may control the actuator 22 based, at least in part, on an analysis of the sensed light signals. The contact pressure applied to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 may have an effect on the quality of the light signal that is sensed by the light sensor(s) 24, and, by controlling the actuator 22 to adjust the contact pressure, the quality of the light signal being sensed can be optimised. The processor 12 may control the actuator 22 to optimise the sensed light signal in accordance with one or more quality metrics which might include, for instance, signal-to-noise ratio, amplitude and/or intensity.

    [0044] The processor 12 may therefore operate in accordance with a feedback loop in which the light signal sensed by the light sensor(s) 24 is analysed over a period of time and the contact pressure applied to surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 is adjusted (increased and/or decreased) over that over of time to obtain an optimal reading. It has been found empirically that the application of a contact pressure increases the amplitude of the sensed light signal up to a given contact pressure, but further increases in the contact pressure can then cause the amplitude of the sensed light signal to decrease.

    [0045] In some implementations, the apparatus 10 may further comprise a sensor for sensing the contact pressure/force applied to the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 by the actuator 22. The sensor may, for example, be a strain gauge. The processor 12 may, for instance, obtain a reading from the sensor each time the contact pressure applied by the actuator 22 is changed (or increased). If the reading is indicative of the contact pressure/force exceeding a threshold, the processor 12 may control the actuator 22 to reduce the contact pressure in order to reduce or eliminate possible wearer discomfort.

    [0046] If the light signal sensed by the light sensors 24 is weak (for instance, it has a property, such as amplitude or intensity, which is below a predetermined threshold), and the processor 12 has tried to optimise the sensed light signal in accordance with a quality metric, the processor 12 may control the one or more of the transceivers 26 to transmit an alert signal to another apparatus (such as a remote server, or a computer or a mobile device/telephone).

    [0047] Fig. 5 illustrates a second flow chart of a method according to embodiments of the invention. The method illustrated in fig. 5 differs from that illustrated in fig. 3 in that at block 501 in fig. 5, the apparatus 10 operates in reflective photoplethysmography mode and performs reflective photoplethysmography. This may involve performing pulse oximetry. The processor 12 may, for example, analyse the light signals sensed by the light sensors 24 to determine (quantify) at least one physiological parameter such as heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and/or peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2).

    [0048] As previously explained, fig. 2 illustrates a situation in which the apparatus 10 has been applied to the surface 71 of skin tissue 70 and the actuator 22 is in its non-actuated state, without any lifting of the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70. In order to perform reflective photoplethysmography, the processor 12 may control the light sources 20 to emit light, which is then reflected back to the light sensors 24 by the skin tissue 70.

    [0049] Light emitted by the light source 20 at the first position 55 is reflected by the skin tissue 70 and sensed by the light sensor 24 at the first position 55, as illustrated by the arrows labelled with the reference numeral 51 in fig. 2. Light emitted by the light source 20 at the second position 56 is reflected by the skin tissue 70 and sensed by the light sensor 24 at the second position 56, as illustrated by the arrows labelled with the reference numeral 52 in fig. 2.

    [0050] It may be quicker to make an initial measurement of a physiological parameter using reflective photoplethysmography and then switch to transmissive photoplethysmography, rather than begin using transmissive photoplethysmography.

    [0051] At block 502 in fig. 5, processor 12 switches the apparatus 10 from operating in reflective photoplethysmography mode to operating in transmissive photoplethysmography mode and controls the actuator 22 to lift the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70 in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue 70 from a light source 20 to a light sensor 24 for transmissive photoplethysmography. This is done in the same manner as that described above in relation to block 301 in fig. 3.

    [0052] In block 503 in fig. 5, transmissive photoplethysmography is performed in the manner described above in relation to block 302 in fig. 3.

    [0053] In implementations having light sources 20 and light sensors 24 located at different positions (such as that described above where a light source 20 and a light sensor 24 are located at the first position 55 and a light source 20 and a light sensor 24 are located at the second position 56) light signals emitted by different light sources 20 may have different characteristics. For example, light emitted by the light source 20 in the first position 55 may be of a first wavelength (for example, green light) and light emitted by the light source 20 in the second position may be of a second, different, wavelength (for example red light). The light sensors 24 may be sensitive to (at least) both of those wavelengths of light. Alternatively or additionally, light emitted by the light source 20 in the first position 55 may be modulated differently from light emitted by the light source 20 in the second position.

    [0054] This enables the processor 12 to determine whether reflective photoplethysmography or transmissive photoplethysmography is being performed. For example, if the processor 12 determines that the light sensor 24 located in the first position 55 is sensing light emitted by the light source 20 in the first position 55, it may determine that reflective photoplethysmography is being performed. If the processor 12 determines (alternatively or additionally) that the light sensor 24 located in the first position 55 is sensing light emitted by the light source 20 in the second position 56, it may determine that transmissive photoplethysmography is being performed. Sensed light emitted from different light sources 20 may be processed separately by the processor 12. In some implementations, the results of the separate processing may be combined (for example, to produce an average).

    [0055] Machine learning may be employed by the processor 12 to determine whether reflective photoplethysmography or transmissive photoplethysmography provides better (for instance, more accurate or reliable) readings in particular circumstances and the processes performed by the processor 12 when obtaining readings may be adjusted accordingly.

    [0056] A technical effect of embodiments of the invention described above is that both reflective photoplethysmography and transmissive photoplethysmography can be performed using the apparatus 10. Furthermore, the apparatus 10 can switch between performing reflective photoplethysmography and transmissive photoplethysmography without having to be repositioned to a different location on the wearer's body. It may also be possible to perform reflective photoplethysmography and transmissive photoplethysmography simultaneously.

    [0057] References to 'computer-readable storage medium' or a 'computer', 'processor' etc. should be understood to encompass not only computers having different architectures such as single/multi-processor architectures and sequential (Von Neumann)/parallel architectures but also specialized circuits such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), application specific circuits (ASIC), signal processing devices and other processing circuitry. References to computer program, instructions, code etc. should be understood to encompass software for a programmable processor or firmware such as, for example, the programmable content of a hardware device whether instructions for a processor, or configuration settings for a fixed-function device, gate array or programmable logic device etc.

    [0058] As used in this application, the term 'circuitry' refers to all of the following:
    1. (a) hardware-only circuit implementations (such as implementations in only analog and/or digital circuitry) and
    2. (b) to combinations of circuits and software (and/or firmware), such as (as applicable): (i) to a combination of processor(s) or (ii) to portions of processor(s)/software (including digital signal processor(s)), software, and memory(ies) that work together to cause an apparatus, such as a mobile phone or server, to perform various functions and
    3. (c) to circuits, such as a microprocessor(s) or a portion of a microprocessor(s), that require software or firmware for operation, even if the software or firmware is not physically present.
    This definition of 'circuitry' applies to all uses of this term in this application, including in any claims. As a further example, as used in this application, the term "circuitry" would also cover an implementation of merely a processor (or multiple processors) or portion of a processor and its (or their) accompanying software and/or firmware. The term "circuitry" would also cover, for example and if applicable to the particular claim element, a baseband integrated circuit or applications processor integrated circuit for a mobile phone or a similar integrated circuit in a server, a cellular network device, or other network device.

    [0059] At least some of the blocks illustrated in figs 3 and 5 may represent steps in a method and/or sections of code in the computer program 16. The illustration of a particular order to the blocks does not necessarily imply that there is a required or preferred order for the blocks and the order and arrangement of the block may be varied. Furthermore, it may be possible for some blocks to be omitted.

    [0060] Although embodiments of the present invention have been described in the preceding paragraphs with reference to various examples, it should be appreciated that modifications to the examples given can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as claimed. For example, the (relative) positioning of the elements 20, 22, 24, 28, 29, 34, 35, 61, 63, 65 of the apparatus 10 might not necessarily be the same as that illustrated in figs 2 and 4.

    [0061] In the embodiments described above, at least one resilient member/spring 65 is provided to urge the membrane 63 away from the surface 71 of the skin tissue 70. In other embodiments, it may be possible to use an alternative biasing mechanism/member, such as a mere mass, depending on the orientation of the membrane 63 in use.


    Claims

    1. An apparatus (10), comprising:

    a photoplethysmography light source (20);

    a first
    photoplethysmography light sensor (24) configured to sense light signals, emitted by the photoplethysmography light source, through skin tissue (70) for transmission photoplethysmography;

    a further photoplethysmography light sensor (24) positioned to sense light signals, emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and reflected from skin tissue, for reflective photoplethysmography; and

    an actuator (22) configured to lift a surface (71) of skin tissue in order to create an optical path through that skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to the first
    photoplethysmography light sensor, for transmissive photoplethysmography.


     
    2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least one processor (12) configured to analyse light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and sensed by the photoplethysmography light sensor.
     
    3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the at least one processor is configured to control the actuator based at least in part on an analysis of the sensed light signals.
     
    4. The apparatus of claim 2 or 3, wherein the at least one processor is configured to analyse light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and sensed by the first
    photoplethysmography light sensor when operating
    in a transmissive photoplethysmography mode, and configured to analyse light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and sensed by the further photoplethysmography light sensor when operating in a reflective photoplethysmography mode.
     
    5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the at least one processor is configured to switch the apparatus from operating in the reflective photoplethysmography mode to operating in the transmissive photoplethysmography mode by controlling the actuator to lift the surface of the skin tissue in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to the first photoplethysmography light sensor for transmissive photoplethysmography.
     
    6. The apparatus of any of the preceding claims, wherein the further photoplethysmography light sensor is positioned, when the apparatus is positioned adjacent the surface of the skin tissue, to sense light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source and reflected from the skin tissue and without any lifting of the skin surface by the actuator.
     
    7. The apparatus of any of the preceding claims, wherein the actuator comprises a membrane.
     
    8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the membrane is configured to move to lift the surface of the skin tissue in order to create the optical path through the skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to the first photoplethysmography light sensor, for transmissive photoplethysmography, wherein the optical path is created at least in part by a change in orientation of the photoplethysmography light source and/or orientation of the first photoplethysmography light sensor.
     
    9. The apparatus of claim 7 or 8, further comprising a housing (34) defining an internal cavity (35) for enabling the membrane to move in order to lift the surface of the skin tissue.
     
    10. The apparatus of any of the preceding claims, further comprising a sensor for sensing pressure applied to the surface of the skin tissue by the actuator.
     
    11. The apparatus of any of the preceding claims, wherein the apparatus is a wearable device.
     
    12. A method, comprising:

    emitting light signals by a photoplethysmography light source (20);

    sensing, by a photoplethysmography light sensor (24), of the light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source, for reflective photoplethysmography;

    lifting a surface (71) of skin tissue (70) in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to a further photoplethysmography light sensor (24), for transmissive photoplethysmography; and

    sensing, by the further photoplethysmography light sensor, of the light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source, for transmissive photoplethysmography.


     
    13. The method of claim 12, further comprising:
    controlling the lifting of the surface of skin tissue based at least in part on an analysis of the sensed light signals.
     
    14. Computer program instructions for causing an apparatus to perform at least:

    emitting of light signals by a photoplethysmography light source (20);

    sensing, by a photoplethysmography light sensor (24), of the light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source, for reflective photoplethysmography;

    lifting a surface (71) of skin tissue (70) in order to create an optical path through the skin tissue from the photoplethysmography light source to a further photoplethysmography light sensor (24), for transmissive photoplethysmography; and

    sensing, by the further photoplethysmography light sensor, of the light signals emitted by the photoplethysmography light source, for transmissive photoplethysmography.


     
    15. The computer program instructions of claim 14, further comprising, causing the apparatus to perform at least:
    controlling the lifting of the surface of skin tissue based at least in part on an analysis of the sensed light signals.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorrichtung (10), aufweisend:

    eine Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle (20);

    einen ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24), der ausgestaltet ist, Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgesendet werden, durch Hautgewebe (70) für die Transmissionsphotoplethysmographie zu erfassen;

    einen weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24), der angeordnet ist, Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgestrahlt und von Hautgewebe reflektiert werden, für die reflektierende Photoplethysmographie zu erfassen; und

    einen Aktuator (22), der ausgestaltet ist, für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie eine Oberfläche (71) von Hautgewebe anzuheben, um einen optischen Pfad durch dieses Hautgewebe von der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle zu dem ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor zu erzeugen.


     
    2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, die ferner mindestens einen Prozessor (12) aufweist, der ausgestaltet ist, Lichtsignale, die durch den Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgesendet werden und durch den Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor erfasst werden, zu analysieren.
     
    3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, wobei der mindestens eine Prozessor ausgestaltet ist, den Aktuator mindestens teilweise basierend auf einer Analyse der erfassten Lichtsignale zu steuern.
     
    4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2 oder 3, wobei der mindestens eine Prozessor ausgestaltet ist, Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgesendet werden und durch den ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor erfasst werden, wenn er in einem transmissiven Photoplethysmographie-Modus arbeitet, zu analysieren, und ausgestaltet ist, Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgesendet werden und durch den weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor erfasst werden, wenn er in einem reflektierenden Photoplethysmographie-Modus arbeitet, zu analysieren.
     
    5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 4, wobei der mindestens eine Prozessor ausgestaltet ist, die Vorrichtung vom Betrieb im reflektierenden Photoplethysmographie-Modus in den Betrieb im transmissiven Photoplethysmographie-Modus umzuschalten, indem der Aktuator gesteuert wird, die Oberfläche des Hautgewebes anzuheben, um einen optischen Pfad durch das Hautgewebe von der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle zu dem ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie zu erzeugen.
     
    6. Vorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei, wenn die Vorrichtung benachbart zur Oberfläche des Hautgewebes angeordnet ist, der weitere Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor angeordnet ist, die Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle ausgesendet und von dem Hautgewebe reflektiert werden, zu erfassen, ohne dass der Aktuator die Hautoberfläche anhebt.
     
    7. Vorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Aktuator eine Membran aufweist.
     
    8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Membran ausgestaltet ist, um sich zu bewegen, um die Oberfläche des Hautgewebes anzuheben, um den optischen Pfad durch das Hautgewebe von der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle zu dem ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie zu erzeugen, wobei der optische Pfad mindestens teilweise durch eine Änderung einer Ausrichtung der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle und/oder der Ausrichtung des ersten Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensors erzeugt wird.
     
    9. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, die ferner ein Gehäuse (34) aufweist, das einen inneren Hohlraum (35) definiert, damit sich die Membran bewegen kann, um die Oberfläche des Hautgewebes anzuheben.
     
    10. Vorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, die ferner einen Sensor zum Erfassen eines Drucks, der durch den Aktuator auf die Oberfläche des Hautgewebes ausgeübt wird, aufweist.
     
    11. Vorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Vorrichtung ein tragbares Gerät ist.
     
    12. Verfahren, aufweisend:

    Aussenden von Lichtsignalen durch eine Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle (20);

    Erfassen, durch einen Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24), der Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle für die reflektierende Photoplethysmographie ausgesendet werden;

    Anheben einer Oberfläche (71) von Hautgewebe (70), um für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie einen optischen Pfad von der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle durch das Hautgewebe zu einem weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24) zu erzeugen; und

    Erfassen, durch den weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor, der Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie ausgesendet werden.


     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 12, ferner aufweisend:
    Steuern des Anhebens der Oberfläche des Hautgewebes mindestens teilweise basierend auf einer Analyse der erfassten Lichtsignale.
     
    14. Computerprogrammanweisungen, um eine Vorrichtung zu veranlassen, mindestens eines der Folgenden durchzuführen:

    Aussenden von Lichtsignalen durch eine Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle (20);

    Erfassen, durch einen Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24), der Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle für die reflektierende Photoplethysmographie ausgesendet werden;

    Anheben einer Oberfläche (71) von Hautgewebe (70), um für die transmissive Photoplethysmographie einen optischen Pfad durch das Hautgewebe von der Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle zu einem weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor (24) zu erzeugen; und

    Erfassen, durch den weiteren Photoplethysmographie-Lichtsensor, der Lichtsignale, die durch die Photoplethysmographie-Lichtquelle für die reflektierende Photoplethysmographie ausgesendet werden.


     
    15. Computerprogrammanweisungen nach Anspruch 14, die ferner aufweisen, die Vorrichtung zu veranlassen, mindestens Folgendes durchzuführen:
    Steuern des Anhebens der Oberfläche des Hautgewebes mindestens teilweise basierend auf einer Analyse der erfassten Lichtsignale.
     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil (10) comprenant :

    une source de lumière de photopléthysmographie (20) ;

    un premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie (24) configuré pour détecter des signaux lumineux, émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie, à travers un tissu cutané (70) pour une photopléthysmographie de transmission ;

    un capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire (24) positionné pour détecter des signaux lumineux, émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et réfléchis depuis un tissu cutané, pour une photopléthysmographie réflective ; et

    un actionneur (22) configuré pour soulever une surface (71) d'un tissu cutané afin de créer un trajet optique à travers ce tissu cutané de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie au premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive.


     
    2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre au moins un processeur (12) configuré pour analyser des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et détectés par le capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie.
     
    3. Appareil selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le ou les processeurs sont configurés pour commander l'actionneur en se basant, au moins en partie, sur une analyse des signaux lumineux détectés.
     
    4. Appareil selon la revendication 2 ou 3, dans lequel le ou les processeurs sont configurés pour analyser des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et détectés par le premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie lors du fonctionnement dans un mode de photopléthysmographie transmissive, et configurés pour analyser des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et détectés par le capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire lors du fonctionnement dans un mode de photopléthysmographie réflective.
     
    5. Appareil selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le ou les processeurs sont configurés pour commuter l'appareil d'un fonctionnement dans le mode de photopléthysmographie réflective à un fonctionnement dans le mode de photopléthysmographie transmissive en commandant l'actionneur pour soulever la surface du tissu cutané afin de créer un trajet optique à travers le tissu cutané de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie au premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive.
     
    6. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire est positionné, lorsque l'appareil est positionné adjacent à la surface du tissu cutané, pour détecter des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et réfléchis depuis le tissu cutané et sans un quelconque soulèvement de la surface cutanée par l'actionneur.
     
    7. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'actionneur comprend une membrane.
     
    8. Appareil selon la revendication 7, dans lequel la membrane est configurée pour se déplacer pour soulever la surface du tissu cutané afin de créer le trajet optique à travers le tissu cutané de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie au premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie, pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive, dans lequel le trajet optique est créé, au moins en partie, par un changement d'orientation de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie et/ou d'orientation du premier capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie.
     
    9. Appareil selon la revendication 7 ou 8, comprenant en outre un boîtier (34) définissant une cavité interne (35) pour permettre à la membrane de se déplacer afin de soulever la surface du tissu cutané.
     
    10. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre un capteur pour détecter une pression appliquée à la surface du tissu cutané par l'actionneur.
     
    11. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'appareil est un dispositif portable.
     
    12. Procédé comprenant :

    l'émission de signaux lumineux au moyen d'une source de lumière de photopléthysmographie (20) ;

    la détection, au moyen d'un capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie (24), des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie réflective ;

    le soulèvement d'une surface (71) d'un tissu cutané (70) afin de créer un trajet optique à travers le tissu cutané de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie à un capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire (24) pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive ; et

    la détection, au moyen du capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire, des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive.


     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre :
    le contrôle du soulèvement de la surface d'un tissu cutané en se basant, au moins en partie, sur une analyse des signaux lumineux détectés.
     
    14. Instructions de programme d'ordinateur pour contraindre un appareil à effectuer au moins ;
    une émission de signaux lumineux au moyen d'une source de lumière de photopléthysmographie (20) ;
    une détection, au moyen d'un capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie (24), des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie réflective ;
    le soulèvement d'une surface (71) d'un tissu cutané (70) afin de créer un trajet optique à travers le tissu cutané de la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie à un capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire (24) pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive ; et
    une détection, au moyen du capteur de lumière de photopléthysmographie supplémentaire, des signaux lumineux émis par la source de lumière de photopléthysmographie pour une photopléthysmographie transmissive.
     
    15. Instructions de programme d'ordinateur selon la revendication 14, comprenant en outre la provocation amenant l'appareil à réaliser au moins :
    un contrôle du soulèvement de la surface d'un tissu cutané en se basant, au moins en partie, sur une analyse des signaux lumineux détectés.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description