Contactless Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Estimation Using a Smartphone During Respiratory Maneuvers and Body Movement

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2021 Nov:2021:84-87. doi: 10.1109/EMBC46164.2021.9630167.


Heart rate variability (HRV) has been extensively investigated as a noninvasive marker to evaluate the functionality of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Many studies have provided photoplethysmography (PPG) as a surrogate for electrocardiogram (ECG) signal HRV measurements. Remote PPG (rPPG) has been also investigated for pulse rate variability (PRV) estimation but in controlled conditions. We remotely extracted PRV using a smartphone camera for subjects in static and lateral motion while their respiratory rate was set to three breathing rates in an indoor illumination environment. PRV was compared with ECG-based HRV as a gold standard. We tested our algorithms on five healthy subjects. The results showed high correlation for rPPG-based HRV by presenting means of standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) and root mean square of successive heartbeat interval differences (RMSSD) correlation coefficient greater than 0.95 in rest and greater than 0.87 in motion. The error of mean low frequency over high frequency (LF/HF) ratio estimated from PRV was 0.13 in rest and 0.25 in lateral motion. Moreover, a statistically significant correlation was obtained between HRV and PRV power spectra and temporal signals for all performed tasks. The obtained results contributed to confirm that remote imaging measurement of cardiac parameters is a promising, convenient, and low-cost alternative to specialized biomedical sensors in a diversity of relevant experimental maneuver.

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Photoplethysmography
  • Respiratory Rate*
  • Smartphone*