Effect of skin tone and activity on the performance of wrist-worn optical beat-to-beat heart rate monitoring

Antti Puranen, Tuomas Halkola, Ole Kirkeby, Antti Vehkaoja

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Wrist-worn reflective photoplethysmography (PPG) has gained popularity as an unobtrusive method for heart rate monitoring, also known as optical heart rate monitoring (OHR). Recently beat-to-beat heart rate information measured with OHR technology has also started to be utilized in heart rate variability analysis as well as in detection of cardiac arrhythmias. However, as an optical method, the quality of the PPG signal and thus the performance of the technology is affected by the skin tone of the measurement subject. In addition, movement and superficial blood perfusion are other relevant factors affecting to OHR monitoring. We evaluated the performance of optical heart rate monitor manufactured by PulseOn company in controlled trial with 36 subjects of varying skin tones. The results show clear dependence between the skin tone and the coverage percentage of good quality beat-to-beat intervals (BBI) as well as improvement of the coverage and the BBI accuracy after physical activity, especially with people with darker skin tone.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE SENSORS
Subtitle of host publicationVirtual Conference, October 25-28, 2020, Proceedings
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-6801-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-6802-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventIEEE Sensors - Virtual, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 25 Oct 202028 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Sensors
ISSN (Print)1930-0395
ISSN (Electronic)2168-9229


ConferenceIEEE Sensors
CityVirtual, Rotterdam


  • Skin
  • Heart rate
  • Monitoring
  • Protocols
  • Optical sensors
  • Optical reflection
  • Heart rate variability
  • reflective photoplethysmography
  • wearable optical sensing
  • beat-to-beat heart rate

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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