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Consumer spectroscopy module improves smartphone health testing

06 Dec 2023

Near-IR technology from trinamiX, Lumileds, Viavi will spot novel biomarkers.

A near-IR module intended to assist with personal health monitoring is said to be the world's first consumer spectroscopy module for smartphones.

Unveiled at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit 2023 and designed to run on that company's latest Snapdragon 8 gen3 smartphone platform, the module could help individuals receive personalized healthcare recommendations more easily.

The module is a collaboration between near-IR spectroscopy developer and BASF-subsidiary trinamiX, LED vendor Lumileds and data network specialist Viavi Solutions, and is designed to detect previously "invisible" biomarkers, according to the developers.

"In the future, consumers will be able to use their mobile devices to visualize biomarkers and check them non-invasively anytime and anywhere," commented trinamiX.

"Based on real, molecular measurements, smart apps will provide well-founded, personalized recommendations for skin care, nutrition, and many other applications."

The collaboration saw Lumileds supply a broadband LED source emitting in the long-wave near-IR range that met the requirements of smartphone use in terms of size, energy consumption, lifetime, and stability, according to product data. Viavi contributed optical filters to allow biomarker information to be extracted from the subject's spectral response.

A detector and read-out electronics for the module were specially developed by trinamiX in smartphone-compatible size using proprietary encapsulation technology from the company, which also supplied spectroscopy and chemometrics technology.

First uses for skin care and hydration

The sensor represents a continuation of the ongoing drive by tinamiX to integrate near-IR with smartphones and make non-invasive molecular biomarker measurements available on such devices, an effort that trinamiX has named Consumer Spectroscopy.

The company first discussed its vision for Consumer Spectroscopy at the 2020 Snapdragon Summit, saying that the capabilities of Qualcomm's processor platform and the availability of cloud computing would allow AI processing of the data and enhance the diagnostic capabilities of the technology.

In its present form the trinamiX Consumer Spectroscopy module measures 10 x 10 x 6.5 millimeters and employs diffuse reflectance near-IR spectroscopy at wavelengths from 1000 to 3000 nanometers. A spot size of 12.25 square millimeters is illuminated by the current design.

For its first application the developers have teamed with skincare vendors Revea, to investigate using the near-IR module as a way to analyze skin health through molecular biomarker measurement. Skin moisture will be the initial use case, according to Revea, allowing users to find the right treatment for their skin type and monitor hydration with a simple smartphone scan.

In the future the technology may also be applied to wider applications across wearables, internet-of-things devices and other household or consumer electronics. The trinamiX roadmap for Consumer Spectroscopy includes measurement of lactic acid to assess muscle performance, and alerts for prolonged elevated glucose levels.

"The many applications this innovation enables in consumer medical applications are truly impactful," said Noman Rangwala of Lumileds.

ECOPTIKCeNing Optics Co LtdAlluxaHÜBNER PhotonicsTRIOPTICS GmbHBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationLASEROPTIK GmbH
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