Scientists at MIT in the US, have unveiled a wireless system, which can monitor the heart rates of people in another room. The technology is called WiZ, and it can monitor chest movements. In initial research the testing is 99% accurate. The researchers behind the idea claim it could replace health-tracking wearable technology.
If you are interested in technology, then chances are that you can’t wait for both Apple and Google to showcase their wearable technology platforms and products this year. Have you ever considered that the cutting edge, new technology for this type of health tracking doesn’t have to be worn at all? Researchers at the MIT claim they’ve designed a system that measures vital signs through brick walls in a room and the system could one finish off the competition in the smart wristband market. Come to think of it the far-reaching effects can be huge, all wearable tech could be affected.
This particular research was conducted at MIT’s Wireless Center, in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). This new system works by transmitting a low-power wireless signal and then using the signals’ reflections to track movement in humans. The signal can be detected even if the humans are in a closed room or even hiding behind a structure, like a wall. This is accomplished by the signal being transmitted at a wall and when a portion of the signal penetrates through, it then reflects off the person on the other side.
The system uses a complex metric; the precise technology then estimates the size of the person. The technology is accurate to such an extent that it can measure the minute changes in a person’s chest as the are breathing and then provide a reading for their heart rate with 99 per cent accuracy.
During the research small antennas were placed behind a wall. They were able to track the position of a person to within centimetres accuracy. Each of the antennae was approximately the size of a coin.
The research team includes Robert Miller, who is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and graduate students Fadel Adib and Zach Kabalec, have also developed the ability to track the movements of up to four different individuals.
This new technology could be used for a wide variety of applications, for example, it could monitor a baby’s breathing and heart rate remotely, or the system could help to keep an eye on an elderly relative living at home alone. Also the tech could be very helpful for search-and-rescue operations, like when emergency personnel are trying to find people inside partly collapsed buildings after an earthquake.
The director of the wireless centre and co-author of the paper Dina Katabi said, ‘It has traditionally been very difficult to capture such minute motions that occur at the rate of mere millimetres per second,’ The MIT professor of electrical engineering computer science continued, ‘Being able to do so with a low-cost, accessible technology opens up the possibilities for people to be able to track their vital signs on their own.
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[Image via csail.mit.edu]