Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Professor of Signal Processing



+44 (0)20 7594 6271d.mandic Website




Miss Vanessa Rodriguez-Gonzalez +44 (0)20 7594 6267




813Electrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Davies, HJ and Williams, I and Peters, NS and Mandic, DP},
doi = {10.3390/s20174879},
journal = {Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)},
title = {In-ear SpO2: a tool for wearable, unobtrusive monitoring of core blood oxygen saturation},
url = {},
volume = {20},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The non-invasive estimation of blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) by pulse oximetry is of vital importance clinically, from the detection of sleep apnea to the recent ambulatory monitoring of hypoxemia in the delayed post-infective phase of COVID-19. In this proof of concept study, we set out to establish the feasibility of SpO2 measurement from the ear canal as a convenient site for long term monitoring, and perform a comprehensive comparison with the right index finger-the conventional clinical measurement site. During resting blood oxygen saturation estimation, we found a root mean square difference of 1.47% between the two measurement sites, with a mean difference of 0.23% higher SpO2 in the right ear canal. Using breath holds, we observe the known phenomena of time delay between central circulation and peripheral circulation with a mean delay between the ear and finger of 12.4 s across all subjects. Furthermore, we document the lower photoplethysmogram amplitude from the ear canal and suggest ways to mitigate this issue. In conjunction with the well-known robustness to temperature induced vasoconstriction, this makes conclusive evidence for in-ear SpO2 monitoring being both convenient and superior to conventional finger measurement for continuous non-intrusive monitoring in both clinical and everyday-life settings.
AU - Davies,HJ
AU - Williams,I
AU - Peters,NS
AU - Mandic,DP
DO - 10.3390/s20174879
PY - 2020///
SN - 1424-8220
TI - In-ear SpO2: a tool for wearable, unobtrusive monitoring of core blood oxygen saturation
T2 - Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 20
ER -