It is possible that stethoscopes become obsolete soon. A team of scientists from Utah State University have developed a method to measure a person’s heartbeat using a video camera and a custom software. The system is working on the fact that our skin keeps on changing colour when the heart beats. The change in colour is so minute that it cannot be seen with naked eye, however, it can be detected with a camera.
Dr Jake Gunther, teamed up with his student Nate Ruben to develop this technology, said, “Hemoglobin in the blood has an absorption peak for the green light. So when the heart pushes blood into arteries near the skin, more green light is absorbed and less is reflected. This means we see fewer green values in the images from the camera.”
Apart from processing the colour data of the skin, the software also calculates an average over regions of the body where the skin is visible, like face, neck, arms etc. Hopefully, the patented system will find its use in baby monitors, exercise equipment and in the hospital settings. The tech is developed for commercialization through a start-up company Photorithm Inc. It might get some competition since both EPFL and Ben-Gurion University have also developed the similar systems.