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New research from Professor John Guttag, Professor Fredo Durand and graduate student Guha Balakrishnan provides a new means for determining an individual’s heart rate by analyzing an ordinary digital video, with results consistently within a few beats per minute of those produced by electrocardiograms (EKGs). The algorithm developed by the CSAIL researchers analyzes small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions to accurate determine heart rate.
A video-based pulse-measurement system could be useful for monitoring newborns or the elderly, whose sensitive skin could be damaged by frequent attachment and removal of EKG leads.