New Technology Uses Photos to Measure Pulse
Want to measure your pulse in real-time? No need to stand around with your fingers pressed against your wrist. New technology lets you monitor your heart rate just by snapping a picture with your smartphone.
Fujitsu Laboratories has developed health-tracking technology that measures a person’s pulse through a digital photograph of his or her face. The pulse detector measures variations in facial brightness, which are caused by changes in the flow of blood. The technology is based on an understanding of how oxygen-carrying proteins in red blood cells, called hemoglobins, work.
Hemoglobins absorb green light, so the pulse detector uses a camera to measure how much green light a person’s face absorbs on average over a five-second period. Using this information, the device computes peaks in brightness, which represent heart rate.
The device is also efficient at minimizing the impact of spikes in heart rate that can impact the accuracy of the data collected. For example, the technology automatically detects if a person is standing up from a chair or turning his or her head to the side, and adjusts the data collected accordingly. That way, the device can be used without the subject having to remain absolutely still.
Not only does Fujitsu’s pulse measuring device solve a convenience issue — previous devices required that the subject be hooked up to a piece of equipment — it also means that pulse monitoring can find broader application in the real world.
The company believes that pulse monitoring that allows users to wirelessly track their vital statistics will make life easier for those with medical conditions or for those who simply like to keep track of their heart rate.
The device can also be built into existing technologies such as smartphones, computer screens, and televisions, the company says, which would allow users of these technologies to effortlessly keep track of their heart rates throughout the day.
Fujitsu also believes that pulse tracking could come in handy as a security or health-screening measure, enabling personnel to monitor those acting suspiciously or those who may be in ill-health at airports or event sites.