Valencell PerformTek® Sensor Technology for Wearables

PerformTek-powered sensors are used in wearables for virtually anyone, doing anything, anywhere

  • Powers popular wearable devices (earbuds, smart watches, armbands and wristbands) with the ability to accurately measure numerous biometrics
  • Continuously measures heart rate, VO2 , calories burned and cadence with unmatched, scientifically validated accuracy
  • Protected by the most-cited portfolio of industry-critical patents in wearable photoplethysmography (PPG)  

Protected by dozens of granted patents and >70 patents pending, Valencell’s PerformTek® sensor technology continuously measures more real-time biometric data than other fitness monitors, with a high degree of accuracy, and does so in a single device. Seamless integration of PerformTek® sensor technology within wearable devices makes it ideal for use in fitness training, athletic performance coaching, gaming and many other related applications.

MEMS Motion Sensor Scalable to multiple form-factors such as earbuds, smartwatches, armbands and wrist devices, PerformTek® biometric sensor technology is the only continuous heart rate monitoring technology proven accurate during virtually any exercise and in virtually any environment. Valencell has executed thousands of tests to prove the robustness of the Valencell biometric sensor technology during many different physical activities and environmental conditions. Please see our white papers for more information.

Optical heart rate Sensor Design

At its core, PerformTek® sensor technology gives wearable devices the ability to continuously and accurately measure weak blood flow signals even during extreme physical activity. PerformTek achieves this with a state-of-the-art, ultra-miniaturized optomechanical sensor module small enough to fit within an audio earbud, smartwatch, or other wearable device. The sensor module includes an optical emitter, an optical detector, specialized optomechanics and an accelerometer.

Extremely Accurate, Extensively validated, Biometric Signal Extraction

For decades, photoplethysmography (PPG) has been used to measure blood flow changes and translate these changes to pulse rate. The problem is that products using PPG have been too large and uncomfortable for consumer use and have not been effective at measuring blood flow during exercise or outdoors. This is where the patented PerformTek biometric signal extraction method shines. As with the traditional PPG approach, PerformTek sensor technology measures weak blood flow signals by shining light at the skin with an optical emitter and sensing the scattered light with a photodetector. A key difference is that the PerformTek signal extraction method takes it a step further, employing active signal characterization, which actively removes noise signals associated with motion artifacts (such as skin motion and footsteps) and environmental exposure (such as sunlight) from the photodetector signal using a method invented and patented by Valencell's R&D team. The result is a cleaned-up signal that contains more accurate information about blood flow. Because blood flow modulates with heart rate and respiration rate, PerformTek-powered algorithms can accurately extract heart rate, RR-interval, respiration rate, and other blood flow parameters from the photodetector signal even during intense exercise. Another key difference is that the compact PerformTek optomehanics are designed to effectively guide light to and from the body to enable a higher signal quality in harmony with the PerformTek signal extaction method.  

To gauge user activity level and to generate activity context, the PerformTek earbud sensor module leverages the accelerometer that is built in to the sensor module. The PerformTek signal extraction method applies a proprietary algorithm to the accelerometer signal to measure running, cycling and activity cadence and to estimate speed and distance traveled. An additional proprietary algorithm estimates VO2 and calories burned by processing both the accelerometer signal and blood flow signal.

The reason why PerformTek is more accurate and consistent at estimating calories burned when compared with a pedometer is because the algorithm for calories burned leverages both the optical and accelerometer signals, whereas pedometers are limited to the accelerometer signal only. For example, you burn most of your calories by your body simply trying to keep you alive, whether you're moving your feet or not. Pedometers can only measure footsteps, but since PerformTek-powered products can also measure what's going on inside your body (not just footsteps), PerformTek-powered products are much better at estimating your true calories burned.

Application Programming Interface (API) for Health & Fitness Apps

Valencell's accurate biometric signal extraction method is coded in firmware on a digital signal processing chip (DSP chip). Application developers can communicate with this DSP chip through the PerformTek API, which allows app developers to access this data and make virtually any health or fitness application their minds can dream up.

Accurate Biometrics Improve Performance


Accurate Biometrics Improve Performance

The Most Accurate Biometric Measurement



The Most Accurate Biometric Measurement


Because of the unique physiology of the ear, wearers can get more accurate health and fitness metrics with earbuds than with other devices, especially when moving around and/or engaging in physical activity.

  VIDEO: Why the Ear
Armbands and Wrist Devices

Scalable to multiple form factors, PerformTek sensor technology has been proven to accurately measure biometrics in different types of armbands and wrist devices.  Such devices may be ideal for those who want to track their biometrics, performance, or fitness for an extended period of time or without listening to music.

  VIDEO: PerformTek Armband

PerformTek® sensor technology is compatible with standard mobile accessory manufacturing processes. Partners can simply license PerformTek® Precision Biometrics for seamless integration within their products.  Valencell provides comprehensive engineering support to help licensees develop storyboards for their desired product use case, integrate the biometric sensor technology into their products, monitor the quality of optomechanical biometric sensors being developed during manufacturing, and certify the biometric accuracy of their final wearable product. Moreover, Valencell offers licensing partners a true technology platform in addition to a rich product roadmap as they look to enhance or expand product and service offerings. To learn more about licensing opportunities, see LICENSING.