The Sensor Project

Can you make a difference?

We’re proud to support the Sensor Project, a volunteer-run UBC fundraising initiative that supports the trials of groundbreaking new technology that could save countless lives, starting with pregnant women and their unborn babies.

A UBC research team has made a technological breakthrough – developing a non-invasive test that helps to diagnose a variety of medical conditions. The technology, called the Phone Oximeter™ leverages the global ubiquity of mobile phones to provide measurements of blood oxygen levels with a light sensor attached to a patient's finger and using software downloaded to the mobile phone. This innovative medical sensor that uniquely connects through the audio-port of any mobile device, allows community health care workers to make diagnoses that could previously only be made in hospitals.

One of the conditions that assessing blood oxygen levels can help to diagnose is pre-eclampsia, which is a life threatening disorder for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Pre-eclampsia is commonly defined as the presence of new high blood pressure with protein in the urine in pregnancy. If left untreated, it progresses to eclampsia, or seizures during pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is the second leading cause of maternal death and kills 76,000 women annually and results in a further 500,000 infant deaths, almost all in the developing world. This hypertensive disorder of pregnancy can be managed with simple treatments if a diagnosis can be established.

UBC researchers have determined that monitoring the blood oxygen levels of pregnant women is an effective way of identifying mothers at risk of developing pre-eclampsia. Using mobile phones – which are widely available in developing countries – to assess women's risks allows many more women to receive the medical help they need, saving the lives of thousands of women and unborn babies globally.

We Need Your Support

For every $100 you donate, a community health worker will be trained and equipped with a mobile medical sensor and predictive diagnostic technology to assess and treat the deadly effects of pre-eclampsia in low resource environments. . Each community health worker will then become part of the rigorous process of field-testing.


To make a donation through one of UBC’s International Foundations (United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong) and/or to make a gift of securities or a wire transfer, please contact: Laura Ralph, Associate Director of Development, UBC Faculty of Medicine, 604-827-4728,

The Opportunity

The Sensor Project is a non-profit fundraising effort supported by the University of British Columbia and driven by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Research (ECEM) research group. The goal of the project is to fund new and innovative global health delivery models that optimize the use of physiological sensors attached to mobile phones.

We have a unique opportunity to work with community health workers to implement this technology as part of a rigorous trial and make an immediate difference in the lives of families in the developing world.