Featured Problem Solver: Oura Health | Cypress Semiconductor
Featured Problem Solver: Oura Health
Cutting-Edge Wearable Design with PSoC® 6
At Cypress, we are all about solving our customers’ problems with our state-of-the-art solutions. The Problem Solver series recognizes unique projects and products created by engineers, designers and makers who are advancing our industry with their disruptive technology. We discuss the problems they faced, the solutions they needed and how Cypress enabled them to bring their designs to life.
Oura Health recently launched the second generation Oura smart ring, utilizing Cypress’ PSoC 6® Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) microcontroller (MCU), the industry’s lowest power, most flexible dual-core MCU with built-in BLE wireless connectivity. Cypress’ secure PSoC 6 MCU architecture enabled Oura to create a game-changing wearable that tracks your sleep and daily activities with battery life that lasts seven days, a 10X increase in processing capacity, advanced biometric sensors and wireless connectivity.
We sat down with Petteri Järvelä, Oura’s Principle Electronics Engineer, to discuss how his team solved their design challenges while building the Oura Ring.
Can you provide background on Oura, including how the company was started and what your vision for the company is?
Oura was established in 2013 in Oulu, Finland with five co-founders. Understanding the value of healthy living in their very hectic business and family lives, the founders of Oura wanted to create a device that would allow them to gain long-term perspective and insights into how to retain a healthy lifestyle. They wanted to find an accurate and convenient way to learn how the body and mind respond to one’s lifestyle. After extensive amounts of research and prototyping, the founders realized that you can accurately measure a comprehensive set of physiological data from the finger. This marked the starting point for Oura.
Five years later, Oura is the leader in the sleep tracking wearable industry and its ring is the world’s first commercially available wearable ring that measures sleep and other relevant bio-signals. In the future, I see Oura becoming one of the world’s leading companies in the wellness category. Oura will provide users with even more accurate information about their body state to help them better balance their life between rest and activity. And as for new Oura products, I see each product amazing the world every time – like the second generation Oura ring did.
Can you tell us about the team that worked on the hardware of the ring?
We worked with a small but very dynamic team, as well as with external subcontractors. While each team member had their own focus area, they were able to change focus when needed to stay on track and within the project schedule. Being dynamic has been the most important factor for the team. Naturally, the ring and all the functions would have been impossible without high design competence.
How did you become familiar with Cypress?
I’ve known Cypress and specifically PSoC for many years. I studied whether we could use PSoC in our earlier product five years ago. I realized PSoC’s capabilities and potential to build a more optimal hardware system.
Why did Oura decide to implement the ring using Cypress’ PSoC 6 BLE MCU? What design challenges did PSoC 6 help solve? Was there a deciding factor between Cypress’ products and a competitor?
Cypress’ PSoC 6 BLE MCU has all the features needed in the second generation Oura ring: dual-core Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M0+ architecture for power optimization, a BLE transceiver, 1MB internal flash memory and customizable analog blocks to build an optimal hardware system.
The second generation Oura ring is much smaller than the first generation ring so we had to shrink the PCB size and battery. However, we also wanted to increase the battery life without compromising measurement accuracy. PSoC 6 helped us build a more efficient hardware system with a small printed circuit board (PCB) size. We were also able to reduce current consumption without compromising measurement quality.
We decided on PSoC 6 over other competitors because it offered better signal quality in heart rate measurement and has smaller current consumption. Thanks to the customizable analog front-ends (AFEs), we were able to have wider measurement and turning range without losing essential accuracy in measurement. I think we used PSoC’s capabilities in a very clever way. PSoC’s capabilities, combined with our hardware system design, are key for more efficient and lower current-consuming hardware system.
What wearable trends are you seeing today and how will wearables continue to evolve over time?
Wearables are becoming smaller and smaller, but with more functions inside and at the same time, wearables are consuming less power. Added functionality allows users to interact less with their wearables while their devices still gather accurate information. Users won’t feel like they are wearing a measurement device, as wearable technology is integrated more cleverly into products people are wearing.
Oura has succeeded in following future trends in wearables and has built a very innovative product. The second generation Oura ring is so easy to wear and has increased battery life allowing you to experience increased time between charging cycles. It is like a normal ring and after couple of days you don’t notice you’re wearing a measurement device.
Thanks again to Petteri Järvelä and Oura Health for participating in our Problem Solver series. To purchase the Oura ring, please visit: https://ouraring.com/#pre-order
If you would like to be considered for our next profile, please email us and share a brief description of what project(s) you have made using Cypress’ technology.