Tag Archives: photoplethysmography


Introducing Easy Pulse Plugin: A breadboard friendly and Arduino/chipKIT compatible pulse sensor

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Today we are happy to announce the release of a new addition to our Easy Pulse Sensor series named Easy Pulse Plugin. Like its predecessors, the original Easy Pulse and Easy Pulse V1.1, Easy Pulse Plugin also operates on the principle of Photoplethysmography, which is an optical technique of sensing blood volume changes in tissues by illuminating the skin surface with a light source and measuring the reflected or transmitted light using a photodetector. The photodetector output contains the cardiovascular pulse wave, which is synchronized with the beating of the heart. Easy Pulse Plugin provides all necessary instrumentation and amplification on board to detect the cardiovascular pulse signal from the fingertip. The most important characteristics of Easy Pulse Plugin is that it can be easily plugged into the left headers of Arduino Uno (or its compatible clone) board for easy interfacing, and the analog pulse signal can be fed to either A0 or A1 analog input through a 2-pin jumper selection. You can buy this sensor at our Tindie Store as well as from Elecrow with worldwide shipping.

Easy Pulse Plugin module

Easy Pulse Plugin module

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Easy Pulse Plugin is easy to interface to an Arduino Board

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Easy Pulse Sensor (Version 1.1) Overview (Part 1)

Easy Pulse sensor (Version 1.1)

The Easy Pulse sensor is designed for hobby and educational applications to illustrate the principle of photoplethysmography (PPG) as a non-invasive optical technique for detecting cardio-vascular pulse wave from a fingertip. It uses an infrared light source to illuminate the finger on one side, and a photodetector placed on the other side measures the small variations in the transmitted light intensity. The variations in the photodetector signal are related to changes in blood volume inside the tissue. The signal is filtered and amplified to obtain a nice and clean PPG waveform, which is synchronous with the heart beat. The original version of Easy Pulse uses the TCRT1000 reflective optical sensor to sense the blood variation in the finger tissue and outputs a digital pulse which is synchronous with the heart beat. Today, we are pleased to announce the release of Easy Pulse Version 1.1, which has some improvements over the original design. The new version provides both analog PPG waveform as well as digital pulse signal as separate outputs. Easy Pulse Version 1.1 board is available for purchase on Tindie. Recently, our Chinese distributor Elecrow has also started selling it for $18.50, and they can ship it world-wide at lower cost.

Easy Pulse version 1.1

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Introducing Easy Pulse: A DIY photoplethysmographic sensor for measuring heart rate

Assembled Easy Pulse board

When I first built the Heart rate measurement through fingertip project, the infrared LED and photodiode used for finger photoplethysmography were actually from salvaged parts, and therefore, I could not provide specifications for them in the article. As a result of that it takes quite a bit of time to replicate that project with a different set of IR LED and photodiode as the values of the current limiting and biasing resistors may have to be changed for the new sensor to work properly. Today, I am going to talk about a revised version of the same project but with all the components specified this time. The new version uses the TCRT1000 reflective optical sensor for photoplethysmography. The use of TCRT100 simplifies the build process of the sensor part of the project as both the infrared light emitter diode and the detector are arranged side by side in a leaded package, thus blocking the surrounding ambient light, which could otherwise affect the sensor performance. I have also designed a printed circuit board for it, which carries both sensor and signal conditioning unit. I have named the board “Easy Pulse” and its output is a digital pulse which is synchronous with the heart beat. The output pulse can be fed to either an ADC channel or a digital input pin of a microcontroller for further processing and retrieving the heart rate in beats per minute (BPM).

Easy Pulse sensor

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