BioPhone: Physiology Monitoring from Peripheral Smartphone Motions

Hernandez, J., McDuff, D., and Picard, R. "BioPhone: Physiology Monitoring from Peripheral Smartphone Motions" In Proc. International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Milan, Italy, August 2015.


The large-scale adoption of smartphones during recent years has created many opportunities to improve health monitoring and care delivery. In this work, we demonstrate that motion sensors available in off-the-shelf smartphones can capture physiological parameters of a person during stationary postures, even while being carried in a bag or a pocket. In particular, we develop methods to extract heart and breathing rates from accelerometer data and compare them with measurements obtained with FDA-cleared sensors. We evaluated their accuracy on 12 people across different still body postures (pre- and post- exercise) and were able to reach mean absolute errors of 1.16 beats per minute (STD: 3) and 0.26 breaths per minute (STD: 0.5) when considering different conditions. Furthermore, we evaluated the same methods during regular phone activities, such as when watching a video or listening to a conversation, yielding increased but still comparable error rates for some conditions.

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