Kyoto and Osaka, Japan - Kyoto University and Panasonic Corporation today announced that they developed a new remote sensing technology for vital signs such as heart rate, heartbeat interval and others. This technology consists of high sensitive spread-spectrum radar and feature-based heartbeat interval estimation algorithm, and enables to measure heart rate and its intervals in real time without placing sensors on the body with as high accuracy as electrocardiographs.
This technology allows 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.
"Taking measurements with sensors on the body can be stressful and troublesome, because you have to stop what you're doing," says Hiroyuki Sakai, a researcher at Panasonic. "What we tried to make was something that would offer people a way to monitor their body in a casual and relaxed environment."
The added convenience of remote sensing, the team believes, will be an incentive for people to monitor their health status for their own benefit.
The remote sensing system combines millimeter-wave spread-spectrum radar technology and a unique signal analysis algorithm that identifies signals from the body.
"Heartbeats aren't the only signals the radar catches. The body sends out all sorts of signals at once, including breathing and body movement. It's a chaotic soup of information," says Toru Sato, professor of communications and computer engineering at Kyoto University. "Our algorithm differentiates all of that. It focuses on the features of waves including heart beats from the radar signal and calculates their intervals."
The team hopes that the remote sensing system, with further experimentation, will be put to practical use in the near future.
"Now that we know that remote sensing is possible, we'll need to make the measurement ability more robust so that the system can monitor subjects in various age ranges and in many different contexts," Sato concluded.
About Kyoto University
Kyoto University is one of Japan and Asia's premier research institutions, founded in 1897 and responsible for producing numerous Nobel laureates and winners of other prestigious international prizes. A broad curriculum across the arts and sciences at both undergraduate and graduate levels is complemented by numerous research centers, as well as facilities and offices around Japan and the world. For more information please see: http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en.
High sensitive millimeter-wave spread-spectrum radar (prototype)
Overview of a new remote sensing technology for vital signs
Measured vital information (top: pulse rate, bottom: breathing rate)