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Author Topic: Pulse oxymeter  (Read 2226 times)
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« on: January 10, 2010, 03:38:35 15:38 »

I' m trying to develop a pulse oxymeter.I have some problems to detect the absorption of light through finger.Is there any reliable methor to detect the absorption of light? If any have any idea pls tell...
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 04:14:12 16:14 »

i have seen a gadget that they use in hospitals for checking sleep apnea and they used some sort of red led
to measure pulse and or oxygenation of the blood not sure since i dont remember what they told me it did.
i can remember the red led was pretty bright and had a transmitter and reciever taped over the finger tip.
it could alse be they use IR light too hardware for measuring looked very simple for the finger part the rest was in a closed box so dont know anything about that part.

best regards

the more you learn, the lesser you get to understand. is it then good know alot but not understand what you know or.......
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 01:20:51 01:20 »

Most modern oximeters use reflection, not transmission. 

Probes these days are disposable, so get friendly with an anesthesiologist and use one of these thrown away probes as your design'll save yourself a lot of headaches and be able to focus on the reason you are doing this design versus buying a complete oximeter on ebay for forty bucks.
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 05:37:09 05:37 »

Let's see.  Smiley Maybe some theoretical background could help the user who posted this message in the top of this page to get through the design of the project. Wink

A pulse oximeter technically is a modified version of a simple absorption UV/VIS spectroscope. Like the preceding user told, there are two basic modes of operation for these devices. One is transmission and the other one is reflection. Huh (Okay let's explain this a little bit)

In transmission, the device works using absortion spectroscopy techniques, where a pair of LEDs face a photodiode through a translucent part of the patient's body (usually fingertips, earlobes). One led is Red with a wavelenght around 660 nm while the other one is on the IR range around 900s nm. The difference between the absorption of oxyhemoglobin and its deoxygenated form at those wavelenghts allows the calcuation of the ratio of absorption from both leading to the estimation of the concentration of blood oxygen.

Like all absorption techniques this requires some correction to get the real value shown in the screen or monitor, so isobestic point principle is configured in the microcontroller unit of the device to perform the calculation and display the result.

In reflection mode the device should work some like diffuse reflectance spectroscopy where detection unit collects and analyzes scattered IR energy. Thus pulse oximetry uses reflected light on a single-sided monitor, but the principles of operation of this mode are the same as for transmission oximetry.

As far i understand (because i am not a medical technician- i'm more closer to analytical chemist), research in Finland made during the early 1990s indicated, reflection oximeters performed well during partial ECC (extracorporeal circulation) giving earlier readings at lower pressure whereas transmission oximeters failed to give readings in partial ECC. It also shown that during partial ECC the accuracy of heart rate data was closer to electrocardiograph readings in reflection oximeters. (if you want to read more details you can check here

But because these results were too far specific for a certain medical procedure (that is likely would occur during a surgery due to some sort of inherited disease), the study concluded that in standard and normal heart rates, both sensors gave good results.

In my opinion as (none specific details were given to the use of this device), you could work in a transmission oximeter as seems more easier to design without the need to buy a probe already made. Such project would be nice for a fair science or hobby electronics.

If you want more details about isobestic point principles you can check Wikipedia's entry regarding that matter (nicely explained) on

More theoretical background is shown here

A design of pulse oximeter used in Mice made by Pensylvania state university is available on includes circuit and the picture of the sensor used.

Although not what you are looking for, on this page there is another circuit embedded to a phone that monitors pulse rate using a LM324 chip.

I hope this information would be good to you,  Cheesy

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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 12:25:22 00:25 »

If you are interested in designing from scratch, here's some design notes from a kit from TI

I've been wanting to build one for fun for a while, but they are available for <50$USD now

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