Optical Pulse Probe

Optical Pulse Probe

Optical Pulse Probe

Optical Pulse Probe

The Shimmer Optical Pulse sensing probe is a sensing probe that can be connected to the Shimmer3 GSR Expansion module. 

*Must be connected to the Shimmer3 platform to be operational.


Connected to the Shimmer3 GSR+ module, the optical pulse sensor can provide a photoplethysmogram (PPG) signal from a finger, ear-lobe (or other location on the body), and is complemented by an executable application that will estimate sedentary Heart Rate (HR) in real time.

The finger optical pulse probe is based on an open source design hardware platform. This circuit has an on-board amplifier and filter and is described in detail here.

Features & Benefits

Real-time Data Collection, Display, and Storage

  • Provides real-time physiological data collection and streaming to a host PC for real-time display and storage
  • Real-time drivers and support library for application specific analysis and software interface development

Adaptability (Wired vs. Wireless)

  • Offers greater ergonomic value than larger wired units
  • Easily combine GSR data with Shimmer’s integrated accelerometer for greater contextual information
  • Easily combine GSR data with the full range of Shimmer Biophysical, Kinematic and Ambient sensor modules

Leverages Shimmer3 Functionality

  • MSP430 microcontroller (24MHz, MSP430 CPU)
  • Bluetooth Radio – RN-42
  • Integrated 2GB micro SD card
  • 450mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Low profile & stylish wearable enclosure
  • Highly configurable to user/developer’s specific needs


  • Voltage: 3V (supplied from 3.5mm jack via Shimmer3 expansion board)
  • Current consumption: < 4.5 mA
  • Connector: 3.5mm 4-position jack (male)
  • Cable length: 9" (approx 23 cm)


  • Affective Computing and Cognitive Factors Research
  • Stress Detection and Analysis
  • Emotional Engagement
  • Psychological Arousal (Mental Effort, Excitement, Shock)
  • Relaxation Training and Psychotherapy
  • Marketing Research


GSR+ Expansion Board Tutorial Video for Shimmer GSR+ Expansion Board Tutorial Video for Shimmer

Supporting Applications

Supporting developer applications including the full range of Shimmer Development Tools, OS Firmware and Enabling Applications

Development Tools:

  • Shimmer LabVIEW Instrument Driver
  • Shimmer MATLAB Instrument Driver
  • Shimmer Android Instrument Driver
  • Shimmer C# Instrument Driver

*Applications above are free to use/download for Shimmer members/customers.