MIT creates smart home device that monitors heart and breathing rates

A new and possibly life-saving device has been created by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The system fits inside the walls of a home, from where it monitors the heart and breathing rates of those inside. 

MIT says the Vital-Radio can monitor multiple residents’ health in real time with 99% accuracy.

It works by sending a low-power wireless signal into the house and monitoring its reflection. Each individual in the house is localised, and the reflection from their bodies is analysed to determine their breathing and heart rates.  

It would be most useful when monitoring infants and old people, but the radio could also work in public spaces. According to the researchers, a user walking up to a Vital-Radio-enabled kiosk in an unfamiliar location such as an airport might receive customised assistance based on their stress level.

This would also be useful in other public spaces such as hospitals, and could even be used when trying to locate survivors of a building collapse. The researchers say the device can detect human presence through walls or under rubble "by relying on the fact that breathing impacts wireless signals".

Vital-Radio’s median accuracy in measuring a user’s breathing rate was 99.4%, with heart rate monitoring 99% accurate. 

Images via MIT’s Vital Radio pdf

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