Estimating Carotid Pulse and Breathing Rate from Near-infrared Video of the Neck

24 May 2018  ·  Weixuan Chen, Javier Hernandez, Rosalind W. Picard ·

Objective: Non-contact physiological measurement is a growing research area that allows capturing vital signs such as heart rate (HR) and breathing rate (BR) comfortably and unobtrusively with remote devices. However, most of the approaches work only in bright environments in which subtle photoplethysmographic and ballistocardiographic signals can be easily analyzed and/or require expensive and custom hardware to perform the measurements... Approach: This work introduces a low-cost method to measure subtle motions associated with the carotid pulse and breathing movement from the neck using near-infrared (NIR) video imaging. A skin reflection model of the neck was established to provide a theoretical foundation for the method. In particular, the method relies on template matching for neck detection, Principal Component Analysis for feature extraction, and Hidden Markov Models for data smoothing. Main Results: We compared the estimated HR and BR measures with ones provided by an FDA-cleared device in a 12-participant laboratory study: the estimates achieved a mean absolute error of 0.36 beats per minute and 0.24 breaths per minute under both bright and dark lighting. Significance: This work advances the possibilities of non-contact physiological measurement in real-life conditions in which environmental illumination is limited and in which the face of the person is not readily available or needs to be protected. Due to the increasing availability of NIR imaging devices, the described methods are readily scalable. read more

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