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“Smallest ever” mmWave IoT sensor for wearable glucose and blood monitors

California-based healthcare tech company Movano claims to have completed functional testing of the “smallest ever” mmWave sensor for non-invasive glucose and blood pressure monitoring. The firm said it has designed the new sensor from the scratch, as a proprietary wireless system on chip (SoC) with multiple RF antennas, in order to offer higher accuracy, smaller design, and lower cost. The sensor will go into wearable medical devices.

There was no detail in the press statement about the mmWave network technology or frequency compatibility, but the announcement is considered significant on the grounds mmWave technologies are traditionally complex and costly, and, as such, rarely found in IoT sensors. Movano, founded in 2018, has invested in R&D to shrink its multi-chip architecture from four ICs into a single integrated sensor. It has seven technology patents in the US.

Smallest ever – Movano’s custom SoC for healthcare wearables

Its multi-band chip design uses advanced signal diversity and signal processing, and will feature in “various devices in the future”, it said. The new SoC measures 4mm x 6.7 mm. Most wearables on the market use off-the-shelf optical sensors, said Movano; it said its R&D drive to develop its own mmWave sensor was “because the standard approach cannot deliver”, in terms of accuracy and flexibility.

John Mastrototaro, chief executive at Movano, said: “RF offers the opportunity for increased accuracy in health monitoring across a broader population because it is not affected by different skin pigmentation, as can be the case with optical sensors.

“In addition, our solution is fabricated using the latest processes in semiconductor technology, meaning the size can be smaller and the materials more cost-effective – giving us greater flexibility in the design of future medical devices and in our ability to offer a solution that’s affordable, so we can reach a larger, more diverse segment of people. In preparation for additional clinical studies, we’re integrating the SoC into a new, smaller prototype system to make further advancements on our quest to accurately measure blood pressure and glucose.”

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