A Circuit for Heartbeat Detection

Technology #16026

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Professor Charles Sodini
Department of Electrical Engineering-Computer Science, MIT
External Link (www-mtl.mit.edu)
David Da He
Department of Electrical Engineering-Computer Science, MIT
Managed By
Ben Rockney
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

A Circuit for Heartbeat Detection and Beat Timing Extraction

US Patent 9,078,577
A 58 nW ECG ASIC With Motion-Tolerant Heartbeat Timing Extraction for Wearable Cardiovascular Monitoring
Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on, 9, 3, 2014, 370 - 376


  • Wearable ECG device
  • Detection of other pulsatile biological signals

Problem Addressed

State-of-the-art heartbeat monitors are designed to detect several clinically relevant processes, including heartbeat rate and arrhythmia. Detection of arrhythmia, which has fine signal features, imposes certain requirements on the ECG hardware responsible for the signal detection and recognition. On the other hand, detection of heartbeat rate requires less signal processing and therefore could be implemented with a simpler and more energy efficient circuit than the circuit currently used in the ECG monitors.


The presented platform is a single-chip solution that replaces several distinct elements of a traditional ECG setup. By removing an analog-to-digital converter, a traditional ECG instrumentation amplifier, and a signal processor responsible for advanced signal processing, the inventors have been able to reduce the power consumption, the footprint, and the complexity of the device. The simplified circuit is capable of detecting the ECG signal and R-timing on various locations on the body in the presence of artifacts and degraded signal quality. Presented alterations have provided an opportunity to implement a more compact and lightweight long-term ECG monitor.


  • Tolerance to motion and ability to sense heartbeat on various locations on the body
  • Long-term ECG monitoring
  • The nanowatt power consumption of the circuit, which is approximately 100x lower than power consumption of the state of the art ECG circuits
  • Reduced battery’s and device’s sizes