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Patent Issued for Mobile Pulse Oximetry Technology

Kenek O2 pulse oximeter

Kenek O2 pulse oximeter, connected to iPhone 6 (LionsGate Technologies Inc.)

25 February 2015. LionsGate Technologies Inc., a medical device company in Vancouver, Canada, received a patent for techniques and processes that connect sensors measuring blood oxygen levels to smartphones and tablets. Patent number 8,958,859 was issued by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on 17 February 2015 to inventors Mark Ansermino, LionsGate’s chief medical officer, and research executives Guy Dumont and Christian Petersen.

The patent describes LionsGate’s technology that makes it possible to connect mobile devices to standard sensors measuring blood oxygen saturation in pulse oximeters. The technology adapts the standard pulse oximeters, worn on a hospital patient’s fingertip to detect hypoxemia, a condition where blood in the arteries is not sufficiently oxygenated. Blood oxygen saturation can also serve as an early warning for pregnant women at risk of developing preeclampsia, a rapidly progressive and dangerous condition usually diagnosed with a pregnant woman’s blood pressure readings that can occur in the second or third trimester.

Pulse oximeters shine red and infrared light on the skin and measure the waves that pass through. The proportions of different light waves passing through are then calculated into a percentage of oxygen saturation. The patent covers hardware adaptions required to connect sensors, such as LEDs, capturing the different light waves to the audio parts of mobile devices.

Unlike standard hospital pulse oximeters, the LionsGate technology takes advantage of processing power in mobile devices to to analyze the readings and return blood oxygen measurements, as well as communicate results from the point of care in remote locations. The patent describes functions of software controlling signals passing through the audio port, as well as conversion of analog to digital signals.

In addition, the patent covers the application program interface for apps on mobile devices that interpret the pulse oximetry data into vital signs for patients and clinicians. LionsGate offers as well apps that turn mobile devices running Apple’s iOS operating system into pulse oximeters.

LionsGate also says its Kenek O2 pulse oximeter received licensing from Health Canada, the country’s regulatory authority for medical devices. The device — that includes a free smartphone app — records and tracks heart rate as well as blood oxygen saturation. The company plans to market the device in Canada, which will be available without a prescription, and sell for about $80.00.

LionsGate is a spin-off company from University of British Columbia, Child & Family Research Institute, and BC Children’s Hospital, all in Vancouver. Electrical and Computer Engineering in Medicine, a University of British Columbia research institute, conducted the studies leading to pulse oximeters powered by mobile devices.

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