Webcam measures heartbeat through reflected light

Researchers from Utah State University have developed a webcam with specialized software capable of measuring a person’s heartbeat.

Developed by electrical engineering professor Jake Gunther, PhD, and former student Nate Ruben, the video camera and software combination works similarly to a pulse oximeter. However, instead of analyzing light transmitted through the skin, the device examines the light being reflected.

“When your heart circulates blood through your arteries and veins, the light absorbed by your skin changes by measurable amounts,” Gunther said. “You can’t see it with the naked eye, but when our system processes the images from a camera, the changes are obvious.”

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