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Bio Phone

It is the research done by an MIT group that manipulates the biological signals using a smart phone’s accelerometer. The motion TRACK YOUR HEART RATE WITH THE SMART PHONE IN YOUR POCKET

sensors in the phone can recover the breathing rate and heart rate of the user during their activities or stationary positions or may be listening to the phone.

The research team consists of Daniel J. Mc Duff, Javier Hernandez and Rosalind W. Picard in MIT, Media Lab and they are the authors of the research on BioPhone. From motion data, they capture the heart rate (HR) and the breath rate (BR).

This is really good news for a person who dislikes carrying or wearing trackers or who does not want to purchase a tracker. This BioPhone can track the user’s pulse even the smart phone is not in hand. The traditional method requires electrodes attached to the skin and can interrupt the daily activities whereas their latest works provide comfortable and convenient physiological monitoring.

Motion sensors are embedded in wrist worn or head mounted devices such as Galaxy Gear and Google Glass that can capture breathing rate and heart rate very accurately. Though they give promising results people are not interested in these types of devices as they are stigmatizing and cumbersome.

This BioPhone takes the role of monitoring through their sensors when carried through various locations of the body. The user can keep the phone in the pocket or bag and indulge in other activities like listening to the phone conversation.

The lead author of the study team Javier Hernandez explained that this instrument is to capture the data when the user is idle and this data could be helpful to figure out when the user is stressed and supports the user to cope with the stress. For example your smart phone can facilitate or suggest you to do relaxing movements, breathing exercises or could ask the user to call a loved one and make phone call to release the stress.

The goal of the team was to develop an automated method to recover the waveforms and pulse and from which the breathing and heart rate can be determined. They used Samsung Galaxy S-4 with 3-axis accelerometer to capture respiratory forms and pulse from a person who carries the phone. The android software what they developed captured the data of the user at an average rate of 100 Hz.

The trial run was conducted to 12 subjects and the phone performed what it was supposed to. To find out the utility of this smart BioPhone, the researchers asked the subjects to sit, stand and lie down with the phones in their pocket. However, there were come inconsistencies when the test was done with FDA approved sensors to the 12 subjects. There was minute difference in Breathe rate and Heart rate in one minute.

To provide continuous physiological measurements they have to still undergo many research challenges. The researchers still have to find out the way to measure the breathing and heart rates when the phones are kept in different spots of the body like the pants’ pocket as the biological signals picked up may change in different spots. This Android software is not now available for the public to try or buy but very soon it will bring great innovations in our smart phone in the very near future.