Reflectance Pulse Oximeter for Low-Resource Countries


Member profile details

Membership level
2014-2015 Team
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Team Name
Project Title
Reflectance Pulse Oximeter for Low-Resource Countries
Design Challenge
Respiratory disease constitutes 18% of deaths of children under 5 and disproportionately affects children in low-resource countries. Although these conditions are typically diagnosed with transmission based pulse oximeters--which measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation--these devices are both unaffordable and ineffective in low-resource settings due to the design of transmission probes and the use of expensive consumable parts.
Design Summary
Our goal is to create a robust, portable, low-cost, reflectance-based pulse oximeter for neonates in the developing world.This innovative pulse oximeter could be used by doctors as a spot-checking tool to quickly screen neonates and children for respiratory diseases, thereby reducing the barriers to diagnosis.

Our current iteration features a fully-integrated handheld device capable of producing heart rate readings and uncalibrated oxygen saturation readings. The accuracy of the device is within 4 bpm.

The oxygen readings are uncalibrated due to the fact that we do not have access to test subjects with decreased oxygen saturation, impeding the generation of a calibration curve against which to model our results.

Initial evaluation of the device showed that although melanin levels in the patient was not a significant contributor to accuracy, the reflectance-based design is particularly sensitive to motion artifact and the applied pressure. The biggest priorities moving forward with the Luminox are acquiring approval for comprehensive SpO2 testing, eliminating error due to motion and pressure artifact by increasing the pressure sensing capability of the force sensor, and creating a more functional form factor for use on a neonate’s palm. However, the current prototype demonstrates that it is feasible to use a reflectance-based pulse oximeter that could be used to quickly screen neonates for respiratory conditions in low-resource clinical settings.
Date Updated
Sunday, May 03, 2015
This project was sponsored by Carolyn and Harrell L. Huff and supported by Beyond Traditional Borders, which is made possible by a grant to Rice University from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Science Education Program.

Support for this project also comes from the HT Than Law Group
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  • Global Health Technologies
  • Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Dr. Maria Oden
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • BIOE
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Dr. Eric Richardson
Faculty Advisor 2 - Department
  • BIOE

Team Members

Award(s) and Recognition
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering DEBUT Challenge - Honorable Mention

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK

Email: oedk@rice.edu

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