A Multi-Modal Sensor for a Bed-Integrated Unobtrusive Vital Signs Sensing Array

IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst. 2019 Jun;13(3):529-539. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2019.2911199. Epub 2019 Apr 15.


In this paper, we present a novel unobtrusive multi-modal sensor for monitoring of physiological parameters featuring capacitive electrocardiogram (cECG), reflective photoplethysmogram (rPPG), and magnetic induction monitoring (MI) in a single sensor. The sensor system comprises sensor nodes designed and optimized for integration into a grid-like array of multiple sensors in a bed and a central controller box for data collection and processing. Hence, it is highly versatile in application and suitable for unobtrusive monitoring of vital signs, both in a professional setting and a home-care environment. The presented hardware design takes both inter-modal interference between cECG and MI into account as well as intra-modal interference due to cross talk between two MI sensors in close vicinity. In a lab study, we evaluated a prototype of our new multi-modal sensor with two sensor nodes on four healthy subjects. The subjects were lying on the sensors and exercising with a hand grip in order to increase heart rate and thus evaluate our sensor both during changing physiological parameters as well as a wider range of those. Heart beat intervals and heart rate variability were derived from both cECG and rPPG. Breathing intervals were derived from the MI sensor. For heart beat intervals, we achieved an RMSE of 2.3 ms and a correlation of 0.99 using cECG. Similarly, using rPPG, an RMSE of 18.9 ms with a correlation of 0.99 was achieved. With regard to breathing intervals derived from MI, we achieved an RMSE of 1.12 s and a correlation of 0.90.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photoplethysmography*