Winner, Name that Ware July 2021

The Ware for July 2021 is a PC-60FW Fingertip Oximeter, which was distributed to each household in Singapore by the Temasek Foundation, free of charge. I thought this was a pretty interesting ware for a few reasons. First, it’s a free oximeter! Kind of a neat thing to play with. You can hold your breath and watch your SPO2 levels go down, or try to meditate and control your pulse.

Second, I found it quite interesting because no where on the box or the manual does it mention that this thing has Bluetooth. Of course, I take apart most things that arrive at my doorstep to see what’s inside — that’s just how I roll. Since it was a free device, I assumed it would probably be a bare-bones implementation, not expecting to see much more than a black glob of epoxy and a few wires when I opened it. Instead, it had these fairly name-brand components, and the antenna came as a bit of a shocker because I didn’t expect any sort of telemetry from the device. The box bears no indication of a radio transmitter — there’s no EMC-compliance notice, MAC address, icons, or any kind of verbiage that would typically compliment a radio transmitter. Must be nice to be able to ship millions of units of a product without having to deal with EMC compliance. After a careful inspection of the manual, however, there is a reference to the fact that you could download the “@Health” app, which includes a QR code to a random website to side-load an APK into your phone from “Shenzhen Creative”.

I’m not quite sure what was the thought behind including the Bluetooth function — it’s not cheap, especially for a nationwide-scale deployment. I would have assumed they were going to integrate this into their “Healthhub” app which is the official government app for managing healthcare, to allow them an opportunity to triage COVID cases before bringing them into the ward. However, I didn’t investigate the @Health app any further; it was served from a Chinese-style domain name I didn’t recognize, without https, etc. etc. I don’t have the time to deal with disassembling the app to make sure it’s clean before installing it, so I just steered clear of it. A Nordic Bluetooth radio on its own isn’t a perilous surveillance threat, due to its limited range and capability. However, once paired with a smartphone app, the scope of the data goes global and the threat is much more severe due to the potential for data fusion with the smartphone’s sensors, and other private data within.

Anyways, I found it a bit surprising that my pulse oximeter has a radio, and thought it’d be a neat ware to share!

This is a picture of the “less-interesting” side of the oximeter PCB. It uses the same OLED display that found its way into the $12 Shanzhai phones from the turn of the millennium. That characteristic cyan-and-amber color scheme seems to be the “go-to” display for budget-conscious IoT devices these days.

Bienvenu is the clear winner on guessing this one, congrats! email me for your prize.

4 Responses to “Winner, Name that Ware July 2021”

  1. Ingo says:

    That style of display seems to have a long history. The oldest device I’m aware of that uses this yellow status bar/cyan main info style display is the Sansa Clip MP3 player, released in 2007.

  2. Matthew says:

    Looks like the formatting in the Shanzhai phone post broke when you added equation support FYI

    • bunnie says:

      Ah yep. Math and money don’t mix, apparently, which is maybe why economics is so hard. The dollar signs should be escaped now, in that post.

  3. Lucas says:

    I would drill a BT chip just to be sure (BT low energy). When I hear “shenzhen” in terms of Electronic stuff i want to grab some thin foil ;)

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