BIOMETRIC-EXP-EVB User Guide Datasheet by Silicon Labs

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Rev. 0.4 12/15 Copyright © 2015 by Silicon Laboratories Biometric-EXP EVB
Biometric-EXP EVB
1. Introduction
The Silicon Labs’ Biometric-EXP Evaluation Board is a hardware plugin card for EFM32™ Starter Kits (STK’s). The
Biometric-EXP is intended to demonstrate and evaluate the biometric applications of Silicon Labs Si7013 Humidity
and Temperature Sensor and the Si1146 Proximity/UV/Ambient Light Sensor which is capable of monitoring pulse
rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2). A Biometric-EXP Software Demo is available to download to an EFM32
Wonder Gecko STK through Simplicity Studio. The software is capable of displaying humidity, temperature, UV,
pulse rate, and SpO2 readings on the Wonder Gecko STK display. In addition to the Silicon Labs sensors, it is also
notable that the Biometric-EXP EVB contains a Silicon Labs’ TS3310 Boost DC-DC Converter.
Figure 1. EFM32 Wonder Gecko STK (Left) Connected to a Biometric-EXP (Right)
1.1. Key Features
Si7013 Humidity and Temperature Sensor
Si1146 Proximity/UV/Ambient Light Sensor capable of monitoring Pulse Rate and SpO2
6-pin ribbon cable connector for attaching a postage stamp board
20-pin expansion header
Battery operated with low power optimizations for long battery life
Demonstration software source code available
USB debug mode allowing HRM and SpO2 samples to be transferred to a PC
Windows GUI to visualize pulse signals and to record samples from USB debug mode
Easy use through Simplicity Studio
1.2. Getting Started
The first step to getting started with your new Biometric-EXP-EVB is to download Simplicity Studio from
The simplicity studio software package contains all the tools, drivers, software examples, and documentation
needed to use the Biometric-EXP-EVB.
You will need to connect the Biometric-EXP-EVB to the EFM32WG-STK3800 Wonder Gecko STK or the
EFM32GG-STK3700 Giant Gecko STK. The demo code can be loaded using the USB cable and the J-Link debug
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2. Loading the Demo Onto the Gecko Starter Kit
The following steps will load the demo firmware onto the Gecko STK. This process requires Simplicity Studio which
is available for download at
1. Use a USB mini type cable to connect the J-Link debug interface on the Gecko STK to the PC and set the
3-position Power Source Select switch to DBG (right-most position).
2. Launch Simplicity Studio.
Figure 2. Simplicity Studio
3. Click on Refresh Detected Hardware.
4. Select the Gecko STK device, under Detected Hardware.
5. Click on the Demos button on the top right of Simplicity Studio.
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6. Select the Biometric-EXP demo from the list and click Start.
Figure 3. Demo Selection Dialog
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3. Running the Demo
A Silicon Labs EFM32 Wonder Gecko Starter Kit (EFM32WG-STK3800) and a Silicon Labs Biometric-EXP (see
Figure 1) is needed to run the Biometric EXP Demo.
The Biometric-EXP demo application uses the Wonder-Gecko STK’s LCD to display sensor output and the two
push buttons, PB0 and PB1, to cycle through the modes of the demo. The full operation including startup is
illustrated in Figures 4 and 5.
3.1. Demo Startup
Upon reset, the demo will first check whether PB0 is pressed then store the result. It will then search for a
supported device on the 6-pin ribbon cable connector. If a Si1143-M01-PS or Si1147-M01-PS is detected, the
demo will automatically use that device for HRM measurements. In this case, the Si1146 sensor onboard the
Biometric-EXP will not be utilized. SpO2 is not available with the Si114x-M01-PS EVB's. If a HRM-GGG-PS EVB is
detected, the demo will display ‘Error’. The Biometric-EXP demo does not support wrist-based heart rate
monitoring. Please contact Silicon Labs to inquire about our wrist-based heart rate monitor solutions.
Following the search for a ribbon cable device, the demo will check the stored value of PB0 to enable or disable the
USB debug mode accordingly and display an USB On or USB Off message for one second. Refer to Section “4.
USB Debug Mode” for details on USB debug mode. Lastly, the demo will display version information then start the
demo in Heart Rate Monitor mode.
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Figure 4. Biometric-EXP Demo Startup Sequence Flash Programmer Dialog
(Displayed for 1 s)
(Displayed for 1 s)
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Figure 5. Biometric-EXP Demo Modes
*Note: SpO2 Monitor mode is not available when using Si1143-M01-PS or Si1147-M01-PS.
3.2. Heart Rate Monitor Mode
When heart rate monitor demo is idle, the LCD will show the word “Pulse” followed by a message instructing the
user to place his/her finger on the optical sensor. In idle mode, the sensor is not continuously sampling. Rather, it
executes one sample every two seconds by performing a forced measurement. That sample is then analyzed to
determine if there is skin contact with the sensor. Only when the application detects skin contact does it begin
sampling continuously and running the HRM algorithm. It will remain in run mode (continuous sampling) until skin
contact is removed for greater than two seconds. This approach significantly reduces power usage when idle.
When the application is acquiring the heart rate, it will display the word “Wait” on the LCD. It typically takes five to
seven seconds to acquire a valid heart rate. Once a valid heart rate is measured, the display will show the heart
rate. If the heart rate is not displayed within seven seconds, it is likely that the algorithm cannot get a valid pulse
rate. When this occurs, the user should remove his/her finger and try it again adjusting the position of the finger
and the finger pressure as needed.
Proper finger position in relation to the sensor and LEDs as well as proper finger pressure is essential for accurate
measurements. The finger should fully cover both LEDs and the sensor. As illustrated in Figure 6, the finger should
be lightly placed on the sensor. Too much pressure will restrict blood flow in the finger and, therefore, not allow the
sensor to measure a heart rate.
Figure 6. Proper Finger Placement
Biometric-EXP EVB
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3.3. SpO2 Monitor Mode
When SpO2 mode is active, the LCD will show “SpO2” followed by a message instructing the user to place his/her
finger on the optical sensor. Beyond that, SpO2 monitor mode mirrors the operation of the Heart Rate Monitor
mode as described in Section “3.2. Heart Rate Monitor Mode” . Please note that SpO2 mode is not available when
using Si1143-M01-PS or Si1147-M01-PS devices via the 6-pin ribbon cable. Even more so than HRM, proper
finger position and pressure is important to achieve a good SpO2 measurement. Refer to Figure 6 for an illustration
of proper finger position.
3.4. Ultraviolet Sensor Mode
When the UV sensor mode is active, the LCD will show “UV” followed by the measured UV index. In this mode, the
UV reading is updated every two seconds.
3.5. Temperature Sensor Mode
In the temperature sensor modes, the LCD will show the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius as indicated by an
“F” or a “C” following the reading. In this mode the temperature reading is updated every two seconds.
3.6. Relative Humidity Sensor Mode
In the relative humidity sensor mode, the LCD will show “RH” followed by the relative humidity reading. In this
modem, the relative humidity reading is updated every two seconds.
Biometric-EXP EVB
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4. USB Debug Mode
The Biometric-EXP demo firmware includes a debug mode that enables Heart Rate Monitor and SpO2 raw
samples from the sensor to be streamed to a host PC via the Gecko STK’s USB interface. Only HRM and SpO2
data is available via the USB debug interface. UV, Relative Humidity, and Temperature data is not available.
Enabling and connecting to USB debug mode is illustrated in Figure 7 and is described in the following sections.
Figure 7. Enabling and Connecting to USB Debug Mode
4.1. Enabling USB Debug Mode
In order to maintain power efficiency of the demo, the USB debug mode is disabled by default. The LCD will show
“USB OFF” during startup. To enable USB debug mode, the user must hold down button PB0 then press and
release the Reset button. Both buttons are on the Gecko STK as shown in Figure 7. The user should hold down
PB0 until the LCD shows “USB ON.” At this point, USB is enabled and the demo will run normally. To later disable
USB debug mode the user can press the Reset button without holding PB0.
4.2. Connecting to USB Debug Mode on a PC
Prior to using USB debug mode, the user must first install the Biometric-EXP Windows Evaluation Software. This
will install the Windows applications and drivers necessary to use USB debug mode. The Gecko STK has two USB
type connectors: a USB Mini type connector labeled J-Link on the short side of the EVB and a USB Micro type
connector on the long side of the EVB. The USB Micro connector is used for the USB debug interface, as shown in
Figure 7. In addition to using the correct physical interface, the Power Source Select switch must be set to USB
(center position) for proper operation.
USB debug mode utilizes a Virtual COM Port (VCP) interface to communicate between the Biometric-EXP demo
and the PC. With the Windows software installed, USB debug mode enabled on the Wonder Gecko and a USB
cable connecting the Wonder Gecko STK and the PC, the device will appear in Windows Device Manager as a
COM port as shown in Figure 8.
The J-Link USB mini connector is not used for
the Biometric-EXP demo debug interface. It is
only used to load firmware and for firmware
The USB micro connector is used as the
Biometric-EXP demo debug interface.
The Power Source Select Switch should
be set to USB to enable the debug
To enable USB Debug Mode, hold down
PB0 and press Reset. Continue holding
PB0 until the display shows USB ON
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Figure 8. Biometric-EXP Virtual COM Port Device in Windows Device Manager
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4.3. Windows Applications for USB Debug Mode
The Biometric-EXP Windows Evaluation Software includes two Windows applications for evaluating and
debugging the Biometric-EXP Heart Rate Monitor and SpO2 functions. An installation program for the Biometric-
EXP Windows Evaluation Software is distributed with Simplicity Studio. It can be found in the Installers directory
within the Simplicity Studio directory structure. Following installation, the software can be launched from the
Windows Start menu.
The Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) demo provides a waveform display of the HRM data along with the
HRM and SpO2 calculated values. The GUI demo also allows the user to record the streaming data to a file for
further analysis. A screenshot of the GUI demo is shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9. Windows Graphical User Interface Demo
The Windows Console Demo provides a running, once-per-second text output of many parameters that are used
within the HRM and SpO2 algorithms including the HRM and SpO2 results. This tool can be used for advanced
analysis of the HRM and SpO2 streaming data; however, the details of the parameters and how to use them to
analyze a HRM-SpO2 recording is beyond the scope of this document. A screen shot of the Console demo is show
in Figure 10.
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Figure 10. Windows Console Demo
To connect the console to the streaming output from the Biometric-EXP, the user can type –u COMx <filename> at
the prompt. In this command, COMx is the VCP COM port as shown in Figure 8, and the optional input <filename>
specifies the file in which the streaming data is to be stored. Note that if <filename> is not provided, the console
automatically stores the data to a default file. This default file is overwritten each time the demo is run.
The console also has the ability to playback recorded files. This is done by typing –f filename at the prompt. In
this command, filename specifies the source file containing the saved recording.
It is important to note that the USB debug interface is a one-way interface. Therefore, the applications can only
take the streaming data as an input. They do not allow the user to control the Biometric-EXP software.
Biometric-EXP EVB
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5. Hardware Overview
5.1. Block Diagram
Figure 11. Biometric-EXP Block Diagram
5.2. Hardware Connectors
As illustrated in Figure 11 there are two separate I2C buses implemented on this board. The Si1146 is on its own
bus while the Si7013 and the I2C Ribbon Connector J6 are on the second bus. This allows for expansion boards
designed for the I2C Ribbon Connector to connect to the Biometric-EXP without the possibility of an I2C slave
address conflict between any potential Si1145/Si1146/Si1147 devices on the expansion board.
Table 1 details the pinouts and signal function of the Biometric-EXP connectors JP3 and JP4.
Table 1. Expansion Connectors (JP3 and JP4)
Pin # Biometric-EXP Signal Description WonderGecko Signal
3Red LED D3 PC0
4Not Used PD0
5 Green LED D3 PC3
6Not Used PD1
7 Si7013 and I2C Ribbon Connector (J6) SDA PC4
EXP Connector
EXP Connector
TS3310 DC-DC
Boost Converter
Si1146 Proximity/
UV/Ambient Light
Si7013 Humidity
& Temperature
I2C Ribbon
All other lines
Biometric-EXP EVB
Rev. 0.4 13
Table 2 details the pinouts and signal descriptions of the 6-pin I2C connector J6.
8Not Used PD2
9 Si7013 and I2C Ribbon Connector (J6) SCL PC5
10 Not Used PD3
11 Not Used PB11
12 Enable TS3310 Boost DC-DC Converter PD4
13 Not Used PB12
14 Si1146 and I2C Ribbon Connector (J6) INT PD5
15 Not Used PC6
16 Si1146 I2C SDA PD6
17 Si1146 I2C SCL PD7
18 Not Used 5V
19 Not Used GND
20 3.3 V 3.3 V
Table 2. 6-Pin I2C Connector (J6)
Pin # Signal Description
Table 1. Expansion Connectors (JP3 and JP4) (Continued)
Pin # Biometric-EXP Signal Description WonderGecko Signal
mD Power Source EFM32 Wonder Select Gecko MCU USB Debug Interface SILICON LABS
Biometric-EXP EVB
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5.3. Hardware Component Layout
Figure 12. Biometric-EXP Hardware Component Layout
Figure 13. Wonder Gecko STK Component Layout
5.4. Schematics, Assembly Drawings, and BOM
The schematics, assembly drawings and bill of materials (BOM) for the Biometric-EXP-EVB are available through
Simplicity Studio when the EXP documentation package has been installed.
Si1146 Proximity/UV/Ambient Light
IR and Red LEDs
EXP connector for
Silabs TS3310 DC-DC
Boost Converter
I2C Ribbon Cable
Si7013 Humidity &
*HFNR 0&8
Biometric-EXP EVB
15 Rev. 0.4
Revision 0.1 to Revision 0.2
Added "1.2. Getting Started" on page 1.
Modified “2. Loading the Demo Onto the Gecko
Starter Kit” to describe how to load the demo that is
integrated into Simplicity Studio
Added a comment in“3.2. Heart Rate Monitor Mode”
describing the proper finger pressure.
Added Figure 7, “Enabling and Connecting to USB
Debug Mode,” on page 8.
Added a comment in “4.3. Windows Applications for
USB Debug Mode” describing where to find the
Windows software installation program within
Simplicity Studio
Removed the section describing how to import the
project source into Simplicity Studio. It is now
integrated and imports seamlessly
Removed the schematic as it is now a separate
document in Simplicity Studio.
Revision 0.2 to Revision 0.3
Removed the description(s) of operation with a
HRM-GGG-PS EVB. The Biometric-EXP demo does
not support wrist-based heart rate monitoring.
Removed a comment indicating that the C++ source
code for the Windows Console Demo is supplied with
the installation. This source code is available by request
Revision 0.3 to Revision 0.4
Removed HRM-SpO2 API Reference Manual
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