Masimo ISp02: Data-Rich, But Tethered

Well known in clinical settings for its line of noninvasive patient monitoring equipment, Masimo, Incorporated offers the $145 iSp02 tablet-driven pulse oximeter. Intended for extreme sports and aviation use, the iSp02 measures blood oxygenation, pulse rate and perfusion index, and presents the data in a free tablet app that’s compatible with iOS and Android. 

The finger sensor attaches to a 30-inch cable that plugs into the tablet—an obvious drawback for extreme sports and cockpit use, in our view, compared with the new Nonin Bluetooth NoninConnect portable. The interface cable is barely long enough to reach a tablet that’s placed on the copilot seat. For panel-mounted tablets that sit in an AirGizmos dock mount, the device is nearly unusable without creative wire routing.

Logistics aside, the iSp02 has a healthy amount of usable features—far more than the Guardian panel oximeter—and its data is presented in a simple, logical way that’s easy to decipher at a glance thanks to large onscreen characters and a simple layout (we evaluated the product on an iPad mini in the cabin of a Cirrus).
The main screen has three main data fields for displaying the numerical value of current blood oxygenation (percentage of Sp02), the current pulse rate in beats per minute and the arterial pulse signal strength, known as the perfusion index. A low perfusion value indicates poor blood flow to the finger. Masimo says that unlike most other pulse oximeter, the iSp02 can accurately measure in low perfusion conditions. For a clinical-like experience, it has an audio mode that beeps in time with measurements, but we couldn’t hear it while wearing a headset.

The application displays arterial pulsations in a graphical waveform, with signal IQ indicator lines that show the assessment of the confidence in the displayed Sp02 value. Logically, a higher vertical line indicates higher confidence in the measurement. It also has a history screen with trend data to include three separate times: Beginning of the trend, midpoint and the time of the last data point within the trend. The trend data can be emailed and displayed in any .csv file spreadsheet.

Masimo hinted at a new version of the iSp02 coming in the near future, but wouldn’t tell us about it. If it has Bluetooth Smart connectivity, we think it would step the already worthy product up several notches. Until then, the wireless convenience of the app-driven NoninConnect model has it beat.