Self-contained, passive, non-contact, photoplethysmography: Real-time extraction of heart rates from live view within a Canon PowerShot

Henry Dietz, Chadwick Parrish, Kevin D. Donohue

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Photoplethysmography (PPG) is the detection of blood flow or pressure by optical means. The most common method involves direct skin-contact measurement of light from an LED. However, the small color changes in skin under normal lighting conditions, as recorded by conventional video, potentially allow passive, non-contact, PPG. A variety of methods have been applied to extract heartrate from such a video. In another paper submitted to this conference by the same authors, a new processing algorithm based on autocorrelation is shown to be effective without needing extensive video preprocessing to enhance the signal. That method was implemented using floating-point arithmetic in MatLab to analyze complete videos. However, the algorithm's structure suggested that it might be possible to create a simplified, integer-only, approximation that is entirely incremental: updating a heart rate estimate as each frame is captured. This new, simplified, incremental algorithm allows a reprogrammed Canon PowerShot camera to function as a stand-alone, passive, non-contact, PPG device. The incremental integer algorithm and implementation are explained and evaluated in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberCOIMG-146
JournalIS and T International Symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jan 13 2019
Event17th Computational Imaging Conference, CI 2019 - Burlingame, United States
Duration: Jan 13 2019Jan 17 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for Imaging Science and Technology. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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