New technology measures heart rate of person on video

Panasonic Corp has developed a technology to accurately measure the heart rate of a person on video.

The technology, “Contactless Vital Sensing,” was demonstrated at Wonder Japan Solutions, the company’s private show that took place from Feb 14 to 17, in Tokyo.

It becomes possible to visualize the tension and stress of an athlete on video by using the technology to estimate the heart rate of the athlete in action, Panasonic said. The company expects that the technology will be used to add liveliness to a TV sports program or manage the health of athletes.

For the measurement of heart rate, Contactless Vital Sensing utilizes the change of skin’s light reflectance. The change of light reflectance is caused by blood. Blood absorbs light, but the amount of light absorbed is not constant and changes in accordance with the contraction of blood vessels caused by brain waves.

Therefore, it is possible to estimate brain waves based on the change of skin’s light reflectance. And a heart rate is calculated based on it. In the demonstration at the show, the skin of a person’s face was used.

“It is possible to use not only a face but also any area where skin can be seen,” Panasonic said. “We used a face because it is the area where the skin was more exposed than in any other part of the person on video.”

It is not necessary to use a special camera for the technology, but the performance of a normal webcam is enough, the company said.

“We realized an accuracy equivalent to that of measurement that uses medical devices,” it said.

Panasonic plans to continue the development of the technology with an aim to commercialize it in 2018. In addition to the applications to sports, the company is considering using it for checking the stress of employees at call centers, preventing car drivers from falling asleep, etc.

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