Scientists have developed a revolutionary laser camera that can remotely read a person’s heart rate and detect signs of cardiovascular diseases. This groundbreaking system, which utilizes artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, could potentially transform the way we track and monitor […]
Scientists have developed a revolutionary laser camera that can remotely read a person’s heart rate and detect signs of cardiovascular diseases. This groundbreaking system, which utilizes artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, could potentially transform the way we track and monitor our health, according to researchers from the University of Glasgow.
“This technology could be installed in booths at shopping centers, where people can quickly measure their heart rates, which would then be added to their online medical records,” stated Professor Daniele Faccio from the University’s Advanced Research Center.
In addition, laser heart rate monitors could be installed in homes as part of a system to monitor various health parameters in a domestic environment,” he added.
Other devices would include monitors for tracking changes in blood pressure or subtle variations in walking patterns – early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.
Remote heart rate monitoring would be particularly useful as abnormalities such as murmurs or excessively fast or slow heart rates could indicate potential risks of stroke or cardiac arrest.
Doctors currently use stethoscopes to monitor heart rates. The stethoscope, invented by French surgeon Rene Lanes in the 19th century (to avoid direct contact with a female patient’s chest), consists of a disc-shaped resonator that, when placed on the body, detects sounds occurring within the body. These sounds are transmitted and amplified through tubes and earpieces, allowing the listener to hear them.
“Proper training is required for using a stethoscope correctly,” said Faccio. “If you apply too much pressure to a patient’s chest, it can diminish the heart rate signals. At the same time, it can be challenging to detect background noises that signal heart defects occurring behind the main heartbeats.”
The system developed by Faccio and his team uses high-speed cameras capable of capturing images at a rate of 2,000 frames per second. The laser is directed at the person’s throat, and reflections are used to measure the precise amount of skin expansion and contraction as the main artery expands and contracts while blood flows through it. These changes involve movements on the scale of billionths of meters.
Such precision is impressive, but simply monitoring these subtle fluctuations would not be enough to track the heart rate accurately. “There are much larger movements occurring on the chest of a person – such as breathing – that would drown out the heart rate signals,” said Faccio. “This is where artificial intelligence comes into play. We use advanced computing systems to filter out everything but the vibrations caused by the person’s heartbeats, even though it is a weaker signal compared to other noises coming from the chest. We know the range of human heart rate frequencies, and artificial intelligence focuses on that.”
Analysis of the resulting signals allows medical personnel to identify changes in heart rate speed – not in comparison to the statistical average for the population, but in relation to each individual’s specific heart behavior. This makes it invaluable for detecting changes that may occur in the heart and identifying specific defects, said Faccio. His team has established a startup called LightHearted AI, seeking venture capital investment to expand the development of their devices.
“This system is highly precise,” said Faccio. “Even if you live in a house with 10 people, it could distinguish you from others simply by pointing the laser at your throat and analyzing your heartbeats from the reflections. In fact, another application of this system is biometric identification.”
“But the main use of this technology – which we hope to have ready next year – will be to easily and quickly measure heart rates outside of hospitals or clinics. The benefits can be significant.”