Robust Real-Time Heart Rate Monitoring System Based on Heartbeat Harmonics Using Small-Scale Radar


Monitoring heart rate is a task conventionally performed in a commercial setting by devices such as EKGs and finger pulse oximeters.  These devices, while effective, require physical contact with the patient and therefore are uncomfortable and make long-term monitoring difficult.

Techniques using radar signals to determine heart rate enable remote monitoring of heart rate, overcoming the most significant limitation of current technologies.  However, current utilization of this technology is largely limited to laboratory settings and yields inconsistent results because of the interference from the signals produced in respiration.  Therefore, it is necessary to determine a way to distinguish the signals of the heart rate from the signals of respiration in order to make reliable and accurate remote monitoring of heart rate possible.

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a technique utilizing radar to monitor heart rate that is able to distinguish heartbeat signals from respiration signals.  This is done by using second order heartbeat harmonics.  A harmonic is a component frequency of an oscillation or wave.  In this case, the chosen harmonic is sufficiently different from the signals generated in respiration, enabling a separation of the signals from each source.  This enables a reliable and consistent distinction between the heart rate and respiration, thus creating an effective remote heart rate monitoring system.

Potential Applications

•       Noninvasive health monitoring systems

Benefits and Advantages

•       Noninvasive: Does not require contact with patient to measure heart rate

•       Longevity: Monitors heart rate continuously over long periods of time

•       Effective: Resulting information is as accurate as that of conventional heart monitoring tools

•       Distance: Demonstrated accuracy at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) away from patient

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Yu Rong Daniel Bliss

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