Non-contact, automated cardiac pulse measurements using video imaging and blind source separation.

  • Ming-Zher Poh ,
  • Daniel McDuff ,
  • Rosalind W. Picard

Optics Express | , Vol 18(10): pp. 10762-10774

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Remote measurements of the cardiac pulse can provide comfortable physiological assessment without electrodes. However, attempts so far are non-automated, susceptible to motion artifacts and typically expensive. In this paper, we introduce a new methodology that overcomes these problems. This novel approach can be applied to color video recordings of the human face and is based on automatic face tracking along with blind source separation of the color channels into independent components. Using Bland-Altman and correlation analysis, we compared the cardiac pulse rate extracted from videos recorded by a basic webcam to an FDA-approved finger blood volume pulse (BVP) sensor and achieved high accuracy and correlation even in the presence of movement artifacts. Furthermore, we applied this technique to perform heart rate measurements from three participants simultaneously. This is the first demonstration of a low-cost accurate video-based method for contact-free heart rate measurements that is automated, motion-tolerant and capable of performing concomitant measurements on more than one person at a time.