Skip to main content

MediaTek’s Sensio module will let you track health data with your smartphone

Smartphones have replaced the need for devices like calculators, cameras, and MP3 players. Chip-maker MediaTek thinks they can eclipse wearables to become our personal health companions as well.

The Taiwanese semiconductor company just announced MediaTek Sensio, a biosensor that allows smartphones to track heart rate, blood-pressure trends, heart-rate variability, peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2, or how much oxygen is in the blood); measure photoplethysmography (PPG, the change in volume of blood or air in an organ), and perform electrocardiograms (ECG, the electrical activity of the heart over time.) This data can be revealed to the user in just about 60 seconds.

The module will be sold to smartphone manufacturers to embed in phones, but it will require visible light-sensitive sensors and light-emitting diodes — two on the sides of the phone, and one on the rear. This allows for a closed loop between your heart and the biosensor for more accurate measurements.

mediatek sensio

Smartphone manufacturers can develop their own proprietary app to present this data, but MediaTek said there’s a third-party interface available if the OEM wishes to use it.

MediaTek’s processors power many budget and midrange Android phones and tablets, but the company told Digital Trends a phone does not require a MediaTek system-on-a-chip for Sensio to work. Any smartphone manufacturer can pop it into their next phone — after some tweaking with MediaTek. It will be interesting to see what exactly a smartphone with Sensio will look like, considering it forces a manufacturer to add sensors around the phone, potentially requiring tweaks to the device’s design. mediatek sensio

Sensio is also not meant to be treated as a medical-grade solution, and the company said, “there are inherent limitations in MediaTek Sensio and related software and other factors that may affect the accuracy of the information and data.” It has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for example. Still, the idea is people would be able to share the data the sensor records with their physician as supplementary information.

Sensio also isn’t gunning for wearable manufacturers like FitBit — it doesn’t track fitness data like calories burned and distance traveled. It’s targeting health and wellness more than anything else.

MediaTek will be showing off prototypes of Sensio at CES, and we’ll likely see smartphones with the sensor embedded next year as well.

Editors' Recommendations

Julian Chokkattu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Julian is the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, covering smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more…
MediaTek’s T800 chipset will bring ultrafast 5G to more devices than ever
MediaTek Processor

MediaTek is on a roll again with a series of impressive chipsets that promise to revolutionize 5G technology from several angles, including taking it beyond smartphones to devices like fixed wireless 5G routers, mobile hotspots, vehicles, and smart home devices.

While the company has already impressed us with some cutting-edge technology in the new Dimensity 9200 this week, it turns out that's just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. MediaTek is also using its modem chipmaking skills to produce smaller and more energy-efficient chips capable of powering the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices without compromising on performance.
The MediaTek T800

Read more
MediaTek’s Dimensity 9200 chip is packed with world’s-first tech
The sign outside MediaTek's headquarters in Taiwan.

MediaTek has announced the Dimensity 9200 smartphone processor, which according to the company, “combines ultimate performance with significant power savings, extending battery life and keeping smartphones cool.” Built using cutting-edge techniques, it’s the first flagship chip from the maker to include both Sub-6 5G and mmWave 5G connectivity, meaning it’ll be more attractive to brands launching phones in the U.S. as well as globally.

Built using the latest second-generation 4nm process, it’s the first chip to use the second-generation ARM V9 architecture, the first with new LPDDR5X RAM, and the first with a UFS 4.0 and MCQ storage system. The processor uses a single ARM Cortex X3 running at 3.05GHz, three 2.85GHz Cortex A715 cores, and four 1.8GHz Cortex A510 cores for efficiency. The Dimensity 9200 is also the first chip to use ARM’s 11-core Immortalis G715 GPU, which supports hardware ray tracing.

Read more
I have a mysterious problem with my iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max laying outside in a park.

There’s an issue with the iPhone I’d like Apple to fix, but I’m not quite sure what it will take to do so. I don't know if it’s a hardware or a software problem or even if I’ll always notice it if the issue has gone away.

It’s the battery life, but not necessarily the length of time the battery lasts on a charge. It’s more about battery life consistency, which is currently (and has been for some time) all over the place.
What’s the issue?

Read more