MediaTek wants the smartphone to be the only portable device that users carry on them, for any and all kinds of uses and activities. While the world does now rely on other wearables such as smartwatches and health-oriented fitness bands to do the task of tracking one’s health, the company has developed a module to do all of that as well, much like how Samsung has integrated heart scanners in their flagship smartphones.
According to a report from Digital Trends, the new sensor will be called the MediaTek Sensio, which will be a biometric scanner for tracking heart-rate, blood-pressure, peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) as well as any changes in the volume of blood or air in take in an organ. The sensor will also be able to perform an ECG, producing all of the above-said results in less than 60 seconds. MediaTek aims to make this sensor available to all smartphone manufacturers to be used on their smartphones. More importantly, the smartphones will not need a MediaTek chip in order to run the sensor, which is quite profitable for MediaTek as it can penetrate the Snapdragon-dominated chipset market and place its sensors there as well. In order for the sensor to work effectively, the instructions laid out by MediaTek indicate that there needs to visible light-sensitive sensors and light-emitting diodes on either side of the phone on the rear so as to close the gap between the heart and the bio-sensor for as much accuracy as possible. Manufacturers will also be able to interpret this data through their own means but MediaTek also has its own interface ready in place should it be needed.
While only four of the features that the biosensor from MediaTek can be found on the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones, that is the closest to bio-sensing that phones today have. With ECG and PPG scanning in tow, the Sensio will be the first sensor to offer those features to phones. Currently, Maxim offers Samsung their bio-sensors. MediaTek will hope to overtake Maxim and Samsung respectively in the field, as it takes steps to broaden its portfolio to offer more than just chipsets.
With the kind of flexibility that Sensio offers to manufacturers by letting them embed the sensor on any kind of smartphone, we should be seeing quite a few entry-level and mid-range smartphones sporting this bio-sensor with the beginning of 2018. There will also supposedly be a bevy of third-party add-ons available in order to maximise the usage and application of the sensor. We will have to wait and see at least until the second of 2018 whether Sensio has made an impact on the wearables and smartphone market just yet, however.