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The Science Behind the Canaria-V

Canaria employs transmissive photoplethysmography (PPG) technology in our non-invasive, wearable device to measure the changes in blood circulation occurring with each heartbeat. Three different light spectrums, infrared, red and green, are shone through an appendage to a sensor on the opposite side. The light detected by the receptive sensor will vary depending on the perfusion of the underlying tissue.

Traditionally, this technology has been employed in medical settings, with monitors attached to patients' fingers to measure vital signs and detect deterioration if it occurs. Even minute changes in blood pressure, blood oxygenation and heart rate can be detected in real-time via PPG.

Given the increasing prevalence and uptake of wearable medical devices, such as the FitBit and Apple Watch, PPG technology has many potential applications in monitoring cardiovascular health and predicting acute physical deterioration.

The Canaria-V

The Canaria-V employs PPG technology in our novel behind-ear device that measures changes in blood pressure, blood oxygenation and heart rate through the earlobe. While PPG technology is not new, its' employment in sectors outside of healthcare has the capacity to monitor and detect alarming levels of Cognitive Fatigue and Heat Stress. In industries where high physical demand is placed on workers, such as the mining sector, this device represents an innovative new approach to ensuring workers' safety.


The Canaria Predictive Biometrics Platform

The Canaria-V measures PPG metrics, as well as skin temperature, movement and extracts metrics related to body function. Skin temperature is used in the determination of heat strain. Movement is currently used to clean PPG and detect if a device is being worn. 

Environmental data is also collected, such as ambient temperature and humidity, ambient air temperature, ambient air pressure and relative humidity. We employ combinations of these environmental and biometrics in our proprietary algorithms to predict Cognitive Fatigue and Heat Stress before it occurs. 


As an example, variability in heart rate is a validated measure of Cognitive Fatigue, while skin temperature can be used to infer core body temperature and therefore Heat Stress.

Benefits of Canaria Technologies

The heavy industries face numerous challenges in managing a dispersed workforce. Serious incidents from Cognitive Fatigue and Heat Stress adversely affects employees’ well-being and may incur significant expense and reputational damage.

Transmissive PPG and propriety algorithms provide >99% accuracy of cardiorespiratory function. The Canaria-V is equipped with modular and adjustable design features, providing maximum personalised comfort when fitted behind the ear of any wearer.

Our quality-controlled Data Management process and cloud infrastructure adhere to best practices for data anonymisation, storage, and privacy. This along with encrypted transfer and storage means users can be assured their personal information is safe and secure.

The Canaria Platform includes a real-time app for wearers of the Canaria-V to see their live biometric data, whilst supervisors/managers can see a holistic view of their workforce through an app and desktop dashboard. The Canaria Analytics Suite can integrate with other enterprise software, 

What is a Predictive Biometrics System?

Predictive biometric systems employ many different types of biometric data, taken accurately and in real-time, and prescriptive algorithms to produce results. In the case of the Canaria technology, users' biometric data, as collected by PPG, and environmental data are integrated to predict acute deterioration of Cognitive Function and Heat Stress.

  • There are two main types of Predictive Biometric Systems, both of which may be considered early-warning systems:

    • Set-Value, where predictive systems rely upon a number set by a heuristic baseline to activate an alarm. They require less compute power out of the two types and are a required precursor to stepping to a self-learning system.

    • Self-Learning systems adapt to individualised thresholds and improve in accuracy the more they are used by an individual. Given the wide range of ‘normal’ values, it is important to tailor warning systems to individuals' unique physiology.



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The Science Behind Wearable Technologies

Pulse Plethysmography (or PPG) works by emitting light into a person’s skin and measuring the amount of absorption to identify activity within the circulatory system. It is the technology implemented by some of the most common wearable devices where the green light is shone into a user’s skin and then the amount reflected back is recorded.


However, this approach is susceptible to inaccuracy due to:

  • Melanin (responsible for skin pigmentation) in a person’s skin is a very good absorber of green light, which means darker, tattooed, freckled, or skin affected by any other normal physiologic variation will produce inaccurate readings.

  • Increased light exposure due to movement of the user’s arm.

  • The movement of the device on the wrist affects the amount of light absorbed by the photosensors.

Canaria Technologies Blog

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