Sensing Technology

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Sensing Motion, Position, and Vital Signs

Improving quality of life with sensing technology

Epson provides unique sensing products and services in the industrial, sports and healthcare sectors. At the heart of these products are Epson's own high-precision sensors that accurately track or monitor factors such as motion, position, and vital signs.

These sensing products and services are aim to help people improve the quality of their lives by capturing data that is normally invisible and turning it into information that offers valuable insights.

Wearable devices require particularly small, accurate sensors. This makes wearable applications an ideal market for Epson, a market where we can fully capitalize on our strengths.

Pairing with smart devices

Epson's M-Tracer products are motion analysis systems that use quartz gyroscopic sensors and other motion sensing technologies to efficiently help improve athletic performance. For example, M-Tracer for Golf, a golf-swing analysis system that is powerful enough to track even the fastest pro swing with ease, can be paired with a smartphone to allow users to check their swing and compare it to a swing that has ideal motion dynamics, anytime and anywhere.

High-precision structural monitoring

Motion sensing is also used in the architecture and civil engineering industries. Epson provides sensing systems that can monitor buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure for deterioration over time and detect structural deformation after events such as earthquakes.

Our lineup of sensors includes small, extremely accurate inertial measurement units (IMU), inclinometers that detect tilts as small as 0.001 degree, and accelerometers that measure vibrations as slight as 10 µG. Industrial customers use these sensors to continuously capture data that allows them to remotely assess the condition of, or changes in, structures, alerting them to potential risks in dated infrastructure.

Epson is also involved in structural monitoring projects that aim to make the world a safer and more secure place, including part of a Japanese national research project in which an Epson sensing system is used for field tests.

In the future, Epson would like to leverage its sensing technology to help connect information and things and contribute to the expansion of the Internet of Things.

Epson's GPS modules: small, accurate, power-stingy

Epson's innovative GPS modules lie at the core of our position sensing systems. These tiny modules provide excellent accuracy yet have minimal power requirements. Our modules enabled the Seiko Astron, the world's first GPS solar watch, which adjusts to the local time zone anywhere on earth with the push of a button. They also enabled our Runsense sports monitors, whose accuracy and ability to use GPS tracking for extended periods of time have made them popular with distance runners.

Not only do these modules endow our GPS-enabled products with advanced functions and features but their small size is critical in ensuring that the products are slim, attractive, and comfortable to wear.

Vital sign sensing

Vital sign sensing is one of our strengths. The heart rate sensor built into our wrist-worn monitors, for example, accurately counts pulse by measuring changes in the amount of blood flowing in the wrist.

This heart rate sensor uses the light-absorbing property of hemoglobin in the blood to measure changes in blood flow based on changes in the amount of LED light that is reflected from blood vessels near the surface of the skin instead of being absorbed by the hemoglobin. The accuracy of heart rate measurements taken by Epson's Pulsense activity monitors, which are equipped with this sensor, is increased by providing the sensor with a unique filter. The filter prevents spurious readings by blocking sunlight and other ambient light so that it does not reach the sensor unit.

Heart rate is measured by shining light from an LED on blood vessels, and then using a light receiving element (photodetector) to measure the amount of light that returns from the skin instead of being absorbed by hemoglobin.

Epson believes it can provide new value to customers in the sports, healthcare, and medical markets by supplying them with accurate data that can be tracked anytime and anywhere.

Wearable device technology for accurately monitoring heart rate on the wrist

Epson continues to advance these sensing technologies. Our goal is to realize a world in which anyone can use a wearable device to easily manage their own health or to track and improve their athletic performance, and a world in which sensors allow us to live in greater safety, without worrying about the structural integrity of the buildings, bridges, and other structures we use.