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Non-Contact Breathing and Pulse Measurement

Fig. 1: Prototype of a single-channel sensor monitoring heart activity.

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Project description

Today, the monitoring and evaluation of vital functions, especially pulse and breathing rates, are part of the clinical routine. In certain cases (e.g. during dialysis, after a heart attack, or to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), long-term home monitoring is also necessary. However, the current use of the related ECG-electrodes, PPG-clips or flow sensors is associated with several side-effects like skin irritation, contact problems or large energy requirements. Due to the mechanical work performed by the heart and lungs, well- conducting and poor-conducting fluid volumes (blood or air) pass through the body, which causes a measurable change in the body’s electrical impedance distribution. Through magnetic bioimpedance measurements, which use inductive eddy currents, a non-contact determination of this resistance distribution is possible.

  • Very small measurement signals
  • Signal disturbance sensitive to movements of surrounding metal as well as to movement or deformation of the sensor
  • Disturbance to other measuring devices
  • Problematic integration

Figure 1 illustrates an early prototype of a single- channel sensor (red), that can be used for the monitoring of heart activity.

Project goals

In the scope of the project , the following goals will be pursued:

  • Development of measurement and testing protocols
  • Determination of suitable measurement sensors and positions
  • Wearable integration in clothing/accessories
  • Integration in beds or seating structures
  • Non-contact monitoring of premature babies in incubators