At the recently concluded CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Humon, a firm based in Cambridge, MA, was showing off its Humon Hex wearable device for measuring muscle oxygen levels. The product is intended to help athletes keep an eye on a metric that is important to optimize training routines, but that was previously difficult to actually measure.
The Hex is strapped onto one of the user’s thighs so that it keeps continuous contact with the skin. It pairs with the user’s iOS or Android phone, or a Garmin smartwatch, to provide real-time and previously recorded measures of muscle oxygen.
On the bottom of the tracker unit, infrared LEDs project light into the muscle and spectroscopy sensors measure the intensity of the light as it penetrates through the target muscle. Oxyhemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhemoglobin (Hb) absorb infrared in different ways, allowing the device to have a fairly accurate picture of how much oxygen is present in tissue.
The firm has already conducted a couple small pilot studies of the prototype of the device, which has helped to lead to the manufacturing of the actual Hex product.