Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd announced March 18, 2013, that it has developed a technology to measure pulse by using video of a human face in real time.
It does not require a special measurement device and calculates pulse rate by taking video with a camera embedded in a smartphone, tablet computer or personal computer and analyzing it with software developed by the company.
The new technology detects pulse based on color elements of video. It measures pulse by exploiting the fact that hemoglobin, which is contained in blood, absorbs green light and detecting brightness change on a facial surface caused by blood flow.
Specifically, the average values of color elements (red, green and blue) are calculated for each frame of video. Then, data influenced by facial and body movements (such as talking on the phone) is automatically removed. Finally, a brightness waveform is extracted from the green element, and pulse is calculated from its peak value.
"At the fastest rate, it can measure pulse in five seconds," said Yoshinori Yaginuma, director, Human Solutions Laboratory, Human Centric Computing Laboratories, Fujitsu Laboratories. "The maximum margin of error is about ±3 heart beats per minute."
"The required resolution is VGA or so," he said. "Twenty frames per second are enough. So, a camera of a personal computer, tablet computer or smartphone is sufficient."
At this point, Fujitsu Laboratories has not yet decided what kinds of businesses it will use the new technology for. But the company is considering using the technology for simple health checkup at home, monitoring elderly people, automatic health problem detection in offices and detection of sick people and suspicious individuals in airports or at gates at event sites.