Oslo, Norway – RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA announces that IDT International Limited – one of the world's leading OEM/ODMs (Original Equipment/Design Manufacturers) of consumer blood pressure monitors for global medical brands – has announced that it has successfully developed the world's first Bluetooth low energy (or Bluetooth Smart) blood pressure monitor, which is expected to be ready to go into volume production by March next year after receiving final FDA (U.S.) and MDD (Europe) medical certification.

This product will mean that any smartphone, computer, or health hub equipped with Bluetooth version 4.0 Smart Ready (as Bluetooth low energy-compatible devices will now be marketed to consumers) will be able to communicate with a wireless Bluetooth low energy/Smart blood pressure monitor and send collected (systolic and diastolic) data via SMS or email to healthcare providers – or even just concerned relatives – including automatically alerting any unusually high or low readings immediately. The device will also record the user's resting pulse and detect any irregularities in their heart beat, allowing these parameters to be remotely monitored too, can support two separate users, and give voice instructions and readings to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations (such as "your blood pressure is normal / slightly high / high").

The nRF8001's class-leading ultra-low power performance has allowed IDT to achieve the same 4-6 month operating life from four AA batteries for its Bluetooth low energy blood pressure monitor as its existing standalone designs under typical operating conditions (2x readings per day).

Hong Kong-headquartered IDT International is a world-leading developer and manufacturer for top consumer brands of a wide range of medical and sports & fitness devices – including consumer blood pressure monitors – and this expertise has allowed it to develop the first publicly disclosed Bluetooth low energy blood pressure monitor that it confidently expects to have passed FDA and MDD approval (for which it is now being submitted) by March 2012.

"We see our Bluetooth low energy blood pressure monitor as a game changer for the consumer mobile health market," states Danny Leung, Engineering Manager of IDT's medical and sports & fitness division. "It can be used by anyone [the end user has to do nothing more than put the cuff on their upper arm and press a button] and means that for the first time collected data can be sent via SMS or email to remote locations using a device that in many cases the user will already own [e.g. a smartphone or computer] and be able to use for no additional cost."

"This means mass-market, low cost remote blood pressure monitoring for all suddenly becomes a commercial reality," adds Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "And this will be a welcome development for already critically over-stretched healthcare providers and agencies looking for new ways to cope with hypertension issues caused by a rapidly aging population [everyone is at risk of developing high blood pressure as they age] and explosion in lifestyle-related high blood pressure risk factors such as obesity."

"But medical will not be the only use case, and I expect Bluetooth low energy blood pressure monitors will spur the development of a whole new range of consumer-targeted Bluetooth low energy-based health and medical apps that could include new ways of collecting, interpreting, and displaying blood pressure data – including even motivational social media-based data and progress sharing where blood pressure and indeed resting pulse become as universally accepted health parameters as weight and body fat are today."

Bluetooth low energy (now a hallmark of the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification) has been designed from the outset to extend Bluetooth wireless connectivity to compact, battery (as small as coin cell) powered devices such as consumer medical monitors. Nordic has been at the forefront of the group that defined the Bluetooth low energy specification since becoming a foundation member of Nokias Wibree Alliance in 2006 (the Alliance became part of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in June 2007). Nordic contributed decades of expertise – gained in producing successive generations of class-leading proprietary and interoperable (ANT/ANT+) ULP wireless connectivity solutions within a field it pioneered. (See 'About Bluetooth low energy' below.)

About the nRF8001

About Bluetooth low energy

About IDT International Ltd

IDT International is a holding company whose shares are publicly listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. Headquartered in Hong Kong, IDT International is engaged in the design, development, manufacture, sales and marketing of innovative consumer electronic products featuring state-of-the-art liquid crystal display and microprocessor technology. Its core businesses include LCD Consumer Electronic Products, Telecommunications Products and Electronic Learning Products. Marketing is undertaken globally through its sales and marketing offices in the US, Italy, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, China, Japan and Hong Kong. Research and development resources have been established in both Hong Kong and China while its manufacturing facilities are centered in Xixiang, Shenzhen, China. For more corporate and product information on the IDT Group please visit:

About Nordic Semiconductor ASA

Posted by Sean Fenske, Editor-in-Chief, MDT