An iPhone app that measures the user's heart rate is not only a popular feature with consumers, but it sparked an idea for a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researcher who is now turning smart phones, and eventually tablet devices, into sophisticated medical monitors able to capture and transmit vital physiological data.
A team led by Ki Chon, professor and head of biomedical engineering at WPI, has developed a smart phone application that can measure not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation using the phone's built-in video camera. The new app yields vital signs as accurate as standard medical monitors now in clinical use. Details of the new technology are reported in the paper "Physiological Parameter Monitoring from Optical Recordings with a Mobile Phone," published online, in advance of print, by the journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
"This gives a patient the ability to carry an accurate physiological monitor anywhere, without additional hardware beyond what’s already included in many consumer mobile phones," the authors write. "One of the advantages of mobile phone monitoring is that it allows patients to make baseline measurements at any time, building a database that could allow for improved detection of disease states."
The application, developed by Chon and WPI colleagues Yitzhak Mendelson, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Domhnull Granquist-Fraser, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and doctoral student Christopher Scully, analyzes video clips recorded while the patient's fingertip is pressed against the lens of the phone's camera. As the camera’s light penetrates the skin, it reflects off of pulsing blood in the finger; the application is able to correlate subtle shifts in the color of the reflected light with changes in the patient's vital signs. Chon, who is an expert on signal processing, has previously developed algorithms that monitor a range of vital signs using traditional clinical devices like a Holter heart monitor. In the new study, Chon and his team created and adapted algorithms to process the data gathered by the phone’s video camera.
To test for accuracy, volunteers at WPI donned the standard monitoring devices now in clinical use for measuring respiration, pulse rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen content. Simultaneously, the volunteers pressed a finger onto the camera of a Motorola Droid phone. While all devices were recording, the volunteers went through a series of breathing exercises while their vital signs were captured. Subsequent analysis of the data showed that Chon's new smart phone monitor was as accurate as the traditional devices. While this study was done on a Droid, Chon said the technology is easily adaptable to most smart phones with an embedded video camera.
Furthermore, since the new technology can measure heart rhythm, Chon believes the smart-phone app could be used to detect atrial fibrillation (AF), which is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia. "We are building that application now, and we have started a preliminary clinical study with colleagues at UMass Medical School to use the smart phone to detect AF," Chon said.
Chon and colleagues are also at work developing a version of the mobile monitoring technology for use on video-equipped tablets like the iPad. A patent application for the technology has been filed. "Imagine a technician in a nursing home who is able to go into a patient's room, place the patient's finger on the camera of a tablet, and in that one step capture all their vital signs," Chon said. "We believe there are many applications for this technology, to help patients monitor themselves, and to help clinicians care for their patients."
Reorganizing a computer chip: Transistors can now both process and store information
10.12.2019 | Purdue University
New software tool uses AI to help doctors identify cancer cells
10.12.2019 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
10.12.2019 | Architecture and Construction
10.12.2019 | Information Technology
10.12.2019 | Life Sciences