We are at CES 2017

We will be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 5-8 January 2017 to show off our plans and the oversize prototype of the vital signs monitor we are bringing to industrial markets in 2017. Whilst our immediate research and development focus is medical uses in extreme environments we look forward to offering the same world-class technology to sports people and folks in assisted living in a couple of years. CES is our opportunity to show and discuss with the public what we are developing right now for medical, space and industrial applications and chat about what they would like to do with it. Please come and see us in Eureka Park on level 1 Hall G at Sands Expo.

We’re honoured to be amongst the top-10 companies short-listed in the 2017 Extreme Tech Challenge and will be presenting our plans on Saturday 7 January at their showcase at the Venetian at 2pm.

The oversized ‘works-like’ prototype of the Canaria vital signs monitor

Thanks to pioneering computational architect Manuel Jiminez Garcia for our prototype’s beautiful case.

The Prototypes



Electronic components fitting inside earpiece


The Prototypes

Wire and plasticine prototypes of earpiece industrial design


canaria full png

3D CAD rendering of the final earpiece casing


Mission Patch

Principia Patch Case

3D CAD rendering of the CO2 detector space mission patch


The Technology

To ensure that our aesthetic design ambitions were realistic we designed the circuitry required by the device to allow us to accurately assess the space requirements needed.

From the start we knew that battery size and capacity would be one of the biggest hurdles for us to overcome to make the device useful and hassle-free for users. As one of our priorities was to minimise the mass that needed to be placed on a user’s ear, we made the decision to sacrifice battery capacity and install a wireless charging system, allowing the system to have almost continuous power supplied from an easily accessible source. This system allows the primary device power to be supplied externally, but also provides a small battery to act as a buffer, ensuring continuous data collection and transmission is maintained.

To further minimise the size of the ear–based unit we installed a combined bluetooth and processor system on chip. To measure heart rate and SO2 levels, the chip (A Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832) pulses an IR LED into the blood vessels behind the wearer’s ear. The reflected signals from this diode are then picked up by an IR detector, where changes in light intensity are converted to a varying voltage signal. This signal is then amplified by an Op-amp, operating in non-inverting amplification mode, and fed into an input on the nRF52831. The signal is sampled by the nRF52831 and temporarily stored in memory before being transferred via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to the user’s smartphone or to central medical server.

The circuit board is designed in a unique trapezoidal shape. In addition to the 3 mounting holes present on the board, this shape ensures the PCB is firmly secured inside the earpiece casing, ensuring the system’s longevity.



Design Priorities

Principia Patch Case crop  dual image

What it Does

The Canaria system of CO2 monitor patch and earpiece acts as a lifeline to the wearer, simultaneously monitoring their heart rate, blood oxygen, and atmospheric CO2 levels. Named after the canaries used by Victorian miners as a warning system in areas of dangerous gas pockets, the Canaria has an audible danger threshold alarm to alert the wearer when they need to head back to safety. Data is automatically transferred by Bluetooth Low Energy to Apple and Android apps or even hospital eHealth wardware using the industry-standard Bluetooth Pulse Oximetry Profile. The patch contains the C02 monitor and batteries that provide wireless charging power to the earpiece as well as sending data of CO2 levels to the monitor hardware.

The benefits of Canaria mark it out as the future of wearable tech vital signs monitoring. It’s unobtrusive and non-invasive, allowing the wearer to change clothes, sleep undisturbed, and put headphones over it without the worry of it catching onto surrounding items. It analyses large data sets meaning that as well as detecting problems in ventilation systems, it can also help to fix them by supplying feedback about problem areas. The ability to gain continuous blood oxygen and heart rate data from individuals in space provides other research benefits, allowing changes to human physiology in space to be better monitored and planning for long duration spaceflight to be improved.  Most importantly for space use, its hard 3D printable case protects the delicate microchips within from solar radiation.


More Applications

The Canaria system is primarily designed for use on long-haul space missions, aboard space stations, and for commercial use in space hotels. As well as this, Canaria has a bounty of life-saving earth-bound applications. C02 pockets remain a huge problem for mining industries and tunnelling, and the introduction of Canaria provides a solution for the reduction of casualties. Use in hospitals offers the ability for doctors to monitor whole wards of patients constantly, allowing them the opportunity to respond to critical warning signs earlier; this is especially critical for cardiac arrests, strokes and Intensive Care Units. Mountaineers require blood oxygen readings regularly when facing the pitfalls of changing altitude levels. Military applications in warzones are vast, counteracting chemical warfare as well as keeping tabs on soldiers’ vital signs.