Fujitsu Laboratories has announced that it has developed technology to measure a person’s pulse from video taken by the camera in a smartphone, tablet, or PC webcam — and it can do so in as fast as five seconds!
If you want to monitor your health, it’s obviously a good idea to keep track of your pulse. But putting the usual monitoring equipment on your arms and wrists can be a pain. Fujitsu’s technology improves this process significantly through the use of video. The technology also can estimate hemoglobin levels in the blood by calculating RGB color components from a person’s face, measuring the approximate ‘brightness’ of their skin.
The margin of error for this new pulse-measuring technology is only about ±3 beats. Currently, Fujitsu is working to support Windows operating systems, with plans to commercialize the technlogy sometime this year. Support for Android and iOS is in the works as well.
While it would certainly be a useful consumer technology, it might also be used in the medical industry to monitor patients, or it could be used at security gates in corporate buildings or airports. We may even see it used for ad targeting in the future — for example — recognizing a person with a high pulse rate, identify them as a likely runner, and then display ads for sport drinks.