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Ballistocardiography is a non-invasive technique that yields information about the cardiovascular system that is not available in other external signals such as the electrocardiogram (ECG). In the last years, several research groups have obtained the ballistocardiogram (BCG) by using instrumentation methods simpler than those available in the 1950s and that did not progress because of their complexity as compared to ultrasound and other noninvasive techniques that are in common use nowadays. We describe a novel method for real-time robust heart- (HR) and respiratory- (RR) rate detection from a subject that stands on a common electronic bathroom scale. BCG signals from the scale are wirelessly sent to a PC where algorithms based on the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) extract the HR and the RR. HR results are compared to those obtained from the ECG. To better assess the RR results, subjects have been asked to synchronize their breathing rate to an on-screen bar-graph set at a constant rate of breaths per minute. This method to obtain the heart and respiratory rates is simple, compact, non-invasive and passive, and can be applied to any person able to stand on an electronic weighing scale, even if wearing shoes.
Date of Conference: Aug. 31 2010-Sept. 4 2010