‘A poster child’ for diversity in science: Black engineers work to fix long-ignored bias in oxygen readings

Read the full story at Stat.

Like many people who are Black, Kimani Toussaint was concerned when he learned that the pulse oximeters relied on so heavily by physicians to treat and monitor Covid-19 patients didn’t work as well on darker-skinned patients.

Unlike many people who are Black, he could do something about it. Toussaint is an optics expert whose lab at Brown University creates precision techniques to image and assess biological tissues. This was a problem he was built for.

Now Toussaint and his doctoral student Rutendo Jakachira are literally using tricks of the light to develop a next-generation pulse oximeter they hope will work well on patients of all skin tones, not just those with lighter skin.

Meanwhile, Valencia Joyner Koomson, a Black associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University, is working on a different solution: “smart” oximeter devices that are adaptable and less sensitive to skin tone.

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