Biometric sensor platform

Louise Smyth

STMicroelectronics has teamed up with biometric data sensor technology developer Valencell on a scalable development kit for wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) designs.

The kit combines ST’s compact SensorTile turnkey multi-sensor module integrated with Valencell's Benchmark biometric sensor system.

The SensorTile IoT module measures 13.5mm x 13.5mm and includes a STM32L4 ARM microcontroller, a Bluetooth Low Energy chipset and a wide spectrum of high-accuracy motion and environmental MEMS sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure, temperature sensor, as well as a digital MEMS microphone.

Integrating ST’s SensorTile development kit with Valencell’s Benchmark sensor technology simplifies the prototyping, evaluation, and development of innovative wearable and IoT solutions by delivering a complete Valencell PerformTek technology package, ready for immediate integration and delivery into wearable devices.

The technology gives wearable and hearable devices the ability to continuously and accurately measure blood flow signals, even during extreme physical activity or when the optical signals are weak.

These signals can be translated into biometric data, including continuous heart rate, VO2 and VO2 max, resting heart rate, heart rate response, heart rate recovery, continuous energy expenditure (calorie burn), cardiac efficiency and heart rate variability assessments.

“Valencell’s Benchmark solution leverages the high accuracy of ST’s MEMS sensor technology along with SensorTile’s miniature form factor, flexibility, and STM32 Open Development Environment-based ecosystem,” said Tony Keirouz, Vice President Marketing and Applications, Microcontrollers, Security, and Internet of Things at STMicroelectronics. “Combined, SensorTile and Benchmark enable wearable makers to quickly and easily develop the perfect product for any application that integrates highly accurate biometrics.”

“Working with ST has allowed us to bring together the best of all sensors required to support the most advanced wearable use cases through our groundbreaking Benchmark sensor system,” said Dr Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Valencell. “What attracted us to the SensorTile was the flexibility of the platform and the ultra-low power consumption, which will enable our customers to create highly-accurate and powerful wearables and hearables in any form factor.”

SensorTile is currently the smallest turnkey sensor board of its type and can be used as a sensing and connectivity hub for developing firmware and shipping in products such as wearables, gaming accessories, and smart-home or IoT devices.

The Bluetooth Low Energy transceiver includes a miniature single-chip balun on-board, as well as a broad set of system interfaces. It can be simply plugged to a host board, and when powered it immediately starts streaming inertial, audio, and environmental data to ST’s BlueMS smartphone app that can be downloaded free of charge from popular app stores.