MIT Researchers Develop Technology To Detect Pulse And Breathing Wirelessly

Health monitoring is all the rage in the mobile market these days as evinced by giants such as Apple and Google announcing new technologies with HealthKit and Google Fit, respectively, and the growing pile of wearable devices coming to the fore. A new technology from a team at MIT could either take that trend to a whole new level--or obviate it.

The CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) previously developed wireless technology that can track people through a wall by emitting a low-power signal that reflects back and reveals movement, and now they’ve improved its accuracy a great deal. It can detect subtle movements such as the rise and fall of a person’s chest (thereby determining that individual’s heart rate with 99% accuracy).

CSAIL wireless

The team’s tech can also detect up to four distinct people in a room through the wall, and they’re continuing to improve the resolution of the technology to be able to generate silhouettes and detect gestures and emotions.

The technology has obvious use cases, including for law enforcement and rescuers, but the CSAIL team is also keen on the fact that this technology could be accessible for average users in their everyday lives, whether that’s for monitoring babies or some personal health measurements.

“Being able to [capture minute motions] with a low-cost, accessible technology opens up the possibilities for people to be able to track their vital signs on their own,” said MIT professor Dina Katabi, author of the paper discussing this innovation.