XIAO in Healthcare: Solutions for Sun Damage, FoG Issues, Heartbeat Monitoring, and Blood Oxygen & Heart Rate Measurement

Medical devices typically have strict requirements. The development, manufacturing, and marketing of medical devices are regulated by government agencies and must meet rigorous standards for quality, safety, and efficacy, and be thoroughly tested and validated before they can be sold.

These projects are simply prototypes from the maker community. Through this, we hope that we can demonstrate to you the potential of XIAO in the healthcare industry as an affordable and reliable component in healthcare devices or solutions.

BLE AI-driven Smartwatch Detecting Potential Sun Damage using XIAO nRF52840

Background: excess sun can affect our health detrimentally

Although many of us enjoy a sunny day in our leisure time, the glaring sun can affect our health detrimentally, especially for the elderly, children, and people with light skin. Excess sun exposure can cause minor health conditions such as sunburn, dehydration, hyponatremia, heatstroke, etc. In more severe cases, excess sun exposure can engender photoaging, DNA damage, skin cancer, immunosuppression, and eye damage, such as cataracts[1]. Therefore, it is crucial to detect sun damage risk levels so as to get prescient warnings regarding potential health risks to mitigate the brunt of inadvertent excess sun exposure.

The sun emits energy over a broad spectrum of wavelengths: visible light, infrared radiation generating heat, and UV (ultraviolet) radiation hidden from our senses. Although UV radiation affects our health positively in moderation, such as instigating the production of vitamin D, sun damage is mostly engendered by overexposure to UV radiation since it has a higher frequency and lower wavelength than visible light.

Solution: a budget-friendly BLE smartwatch to forecast sun damage risk levels in the hope of prewarning the user

Measurement of UV index (UVI), temperature, pressure, and altitude to denote the amount of UV radiation from the sun so as to create a budget-friendly BLE smartwatch to forecast sun damage risk levels in the hope of prewarning the user, especially risk groups, of potential sun damage risk to avert severe health conditions related to excess sun exposure, such as immune system damage and melanoma (skin cancer)

Why XIAO nRF52840?

  • Since XIAO BLE (nRF52840) is an ultra-small size Bluetooth development board that can easily collect data and run neural network models after being trained to forecast sun damage risk levels.
  • XIAO Expansion Board provides various prototyping options and built-in peripherals such as an SSD1306 OLED display and a MicroSD card module; it also supports reading and writing information from/to files on an SD card. In this regard, it enables data packets to be saved via XIAO BLE without requiring any additional procedures

Wearable Device to Help With FoG Issues for Parkinson’s Using XIAO RP2040

What is FoG?

Freeze of gait (FoG) is a condition that affects individuals with Parkinson’s disease, causing difficulty in initiating and maintaining normal walking patterns. When FoG occurs, patients may experience difficulties moving their feet forward, a reduction in walking speed, and impaired balance.

Solution: a lightweight wearable device to provide an external stimulant

However, with the help of an external stimulant such as sound, vibration, or light, they can quickly restore their normal gait and regain their ability to walk normally. To address this issue, Tobychui has developed a device that utilizes the XIAO RP2040 to help Parkinson’s patients with FoG symptoms. The device helps patients to “walk normally” by providing a rhythmic external stimulant, thereby reducing the impact of FoG on their daily life. This project is a side project for Tobychui to assist Parkinson’s patients who struggle with FoG.

Why XIAO RP2040?

XIAO RP2040 is powered by a dual-core Arm Cortex-Mo+ processor, with ample memory featuring 384 KB of onboard SRAM and up to 2 MB of off-chip Flash memory, which makes it the hardware foundation of such an application. In addition, its thump-sized form factor and versatile connectivity make it easily connected with a wide range of sensors, actuators, and other devices and integrated into small devices and systems together. What’s more important, its low-power consumption ensures long power support in a portable or wearable device.

Heartbeat Monitor With XIAO nRF52840

Where do we need Heartbeat Monitoring?

Heartbeat monitors are versatile tools that can be used in many different scenarios to monitor and understand heart function and can provide valuable information for improving health, wellness, and performance. Some of the reasons why people may need a heartbeat monitor include health monitoring, fitness, and exercise, sleep monitoring, or R&D in labs.

How does this solution work?

It is a wearable device that can monitor a person’s heart rate based on XIAO nRF52840 and a pulse sensor The pulse sensor is connected to the XIAO nRF52840 to collect and process the pulse data and sends it wirelessly to a nearby receiver. The receiver displays the heart rate data on an OLED screen, allowing the wearer to easily monitor their heart rate.

Why nRF52840?

  • Bluetooth connectivity: The XIAO nRF52840 supports Bluetooth 5, which provides fast and reliable wireless connectivity and is ideal for IoT and wearable devices.
  • Compact size: The XIAO nRP52840 is small in size, which makes it ideal for use in compact and portable devices, such as wearables and small IoT devices.

Blood Oxygen & Heart Rate Meter Powered by XIAO SAMD21

A Blood Oxygen & Heart Rate Meter, as the name suggests, is a device that can measure a person’s blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and heart rate.

SpO2 is a measurement of the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood and is expressed as a percentage. Normal values are typically between 95-100%, and a drop in the SpO2 level can indicate that a person is not getting enough oxygen, which could be due to a variety of reasons such as lung or heart problems.

Heart rate, on the other hand, is a measure of the number of times the heart beats per minute. Monitoring heart rate can provide important information about a person’s health and physical fitness and can be used to detect potential heart problems or track changes in heart rate during exercise.

Together, these two measurements can provide valuable information about a person’s overall health and well-being, and can help detect potential health problems at an early stage. Additionally, the device can be useful for monitoring the effects of exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle changes on a person’s health and fitness.

Solution: a non-invasive device that can measure a person’s blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and heart rate using XIAO SAMD21, a pulse oximeter sensor, and an OLED display.

The device is built using an XIAO SAMD21, which reads data from the pulse oximeter sensor and displays it on the OLED display. The project also includes a mobile app that can be used to remotely view the readings and store data for later analysis.


The SAMD21 is commonly used in DIY electronics projects due to its small size, low power consumption, and the availability of a large number of peripherals and libraries for the microcontroller.

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February 2023