Philips has just released an app for the iPad 2 which can detect heart rate and respiratory rate. The Vital Signs Camera App uses the tablet’s camera to sense small changes in facial color, indicative of beat by beat changes in blood flow, to determine your heart rate. Respiratory rate is determined bytracking the movement of the chest during breathing .The video below gives a nice overview of the system and, true to form, the interface and design would appear to be very much in line with Philips and Apple’s zen aesthetic.
This is not the first time we have come across non-contact measurement of vital signs using video processing. Earlier this year researchers from M.I.T.’s Media Lab published a paper on a technique to achieve this using a standard low-cost webcam. However, this does seem to be one of the first apps to incorporate this technology with the backing of a major healthcare company.
Philips is careful to state the app is not a medical tool, but it does seem to be a step in the right direction for socializing personal health. The company is also making the algorithms available for licensing so we could well see a host of apps with this technology emerging in the future. Seeing as the Vital Signs App is already two parts Polygraph it also opens up a whole world of video interrogation for all you iPad 2 users.
Product page: Vital Signs Camera App