Japanese researchers have come up with a way to measure heartbeats remotely, in real time and under controlled conditions with as much accuracy as electrocardiographs, without placing sensors on the body.
The advance will allow for the development of ‘casual sensing’ – taking measurements as people go about their daily activities, for instance, when they are going to bed or getting ready to start the day, according to researchers from Kyoto University Centre of Innovation and Panasonic Corporation.
The added convenience of remote sensing, researchers believe, will be an incentive for people to monitor their health status for their own benefit.
The remote sensing system combines spread-spectrum radar technology and a unique signal analysis algorithm that identify signals from the body.
“Taking measurements with sensors on the body can be stressful and troublesome, because you have to stop what you are doing,” said Hiroyuki Sakai, a researcher at Panasonic.
“Heartbeats are not the only signals the radar catches. The body sends out all sorts of signals at once, including breathing and body movement. It is a chaotic soup of information,” said Toru Sato from Kyoto University.
“Our algorithm differentiates all of that. It extracts waves characteristic of heart beats from the radar signal and calculates their intervals,” Sato added.