Microsoft Research Institute has recently developed a new technology, which can use the smart phone camera in the hands of consumers for non-contact physiological measurement in the field of telemedicine. In the past decade, researchers have found that with AI algorithms, webcams and mobile cameras can become efficient health sensors. These methods involve the measurement of subtle changes in the human body over time, and by capturing these changes that cannot be detected by the naked eye, a lot of physiological information can be provided.

In collaboration with the University of Washington and octoml, the research team of Microsoft Research Institute has created an innovative optical measurement method of cardiopulmonary vital signs based on video. This method uses the daily camera technology (such as webcam and mobile devices) and a new convolutional attention network (called mtts-can), which can perform real-time cardiopulmonary measurement on the mobile platform and provide high accuracy.

Over time, physiological processes such as blood flow and breathing can subtly change the appearance of the body. Smart phone camera can pick up the reflected light, and the change of pixel intensity over time can be used to recover the potential source of these changes (i.e. human pulse and breath). Using optical models based on knowledge of these physiological processes, you can process a person’s video to determine their pulse rate, respiration, and even the oxygen concentration in their blood.

The technology can be used in fitness, health and clinical applications. For daily consumers, it can make family monitoring and fitness tracking more convenient. Your treadmill or smart home fitness device can continuously track your physical strength during a run, for example, you don’t need to wear a device or synchronize data. In clinical cases, measurement based on camera can make cardiologists analyze patients’ heart health more objectively through video calls.

The most obvious application of camera based physiological sensors may be telemedicine. However, in most telemedicine scenarios, doctors can’t obtain objective measurement results of patients’ condition because they can’t capture vital signs and other signals of patients. This worries many patients because they are concerned about the quality of diagnosis and care that can be obtained without objective measurement. And this technology is expected to improve this situation.

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