Advances in telemedicine healthcare products over the past decades have been truly miraculous with ingenious little devices invented by start-ups as well as by larger corporations, .e.g Apple’s smart watch and the Fitbit. These advancements have been facilitated by the availability of low-cost microcontrollers offering algorithmic functionality, allowing developers to implement wearables with excellent battery life and edge based real-time data analysis.

Over 90% of the microcontrollers used in the smart product market are powered by so called Arm Cortex-M processors that offer a combination of high algorithmic performance, low-power and security. The Arm Cortex-M4 is a very popular choice with hundreds of silicon vendors (including ST, TI, NXP, ADI, Nordic, Microchip, Renesas), as it offers DSP (digital signal processing) functionality traditionally found in more expensive devices and is low-power. Arm and its rich eco system of partners provide developers with easy-to-use tooling and tried and tested software libraries, such as the CMSIS-DSP and CMSIS-NN frameworks for algorithm development and machine learning.

The choice is vast, and can be very confusing. Therefore, here are some practical hints and tips for both managers and developers to help you decide which Arm Cortex-M processor is best for your biomedical product.

Which Arm Cortex-M processor do I choose for my biomedical application?

The Arm Cortex-M0+ processor is an ultra-low power 32-bit processor designed for very low-cost IoT applications, such as simple wearable devices. The low price point is comparable with equivalent 8-bit devices, but with 32-bit performance. Microcontrollers built around the M0+ processor provide developers with excellent battery life (months to years), a rich peripheral set and a basic amount of connectivity and computational performance. The latter means that only simple algorithms can be implemented, such as algorithms for correcting baseline wander and minimizing the effects of motion artefacts using accelerometer data via an adaptive filter, such as the NLMS algorithm. Although for PPG pulse rate measurement applications, the sampling rate is typically 50Hz, leaving the processor plenty of time to perform various simpler algorithmic operations, such as digital filtering and zero-crossing detection.

For high performance PPG applications, sampling rates in the order of 500Hz are typically used. These types of applications usually look at more biomedical features, such as identifying the Systolic and Diastolic phases and finding the Dicrotic notch using feature extraction algorithms and ML models. These extra functionalities provide a significant strain on the processor’s abilities, and as such are beyond the abilities of the M0+.

The Cortex-M3 is a step up from the M0+, offering better computational performance but with less power efficiency. The extra processing power, rich hardware peripheral set for connecting other sensors and connectivity options makes the M3 a very good choice for developers looking to develop slightly more advanced wearable products, such as the Fitbit device that is based on ST’s low-power STM32L series of microcontrollers.

High performance wearables and beyond

The Arm Cortex-M4 processor and its more powerful bigger brother the Cortex-M7 are highly-efficient embedded processors designed for IoT applications that require decent real-time signal processing performance and memory. Depending on the flavour of the processor, the M4F/M7F processors implement DSP hardware accelerated instructions, as well hardware floating point support. This lends itself to the efficient implementation of much more computationally intensive biomedical DSP and ML algorithms needed for more advanced telemedicine products.

The hardware floating point support unit expedites RAD (rapid application development), as algorithms and functions developed in Matlab or Python can be ported to C for implementation without the need for a lengthy data arithmetic quantisation analysis. Microcontrollers based on the M4F or M7F, usually offer many of the hardware peripheral and connectivity advantages of the M3, providing developers with a very powerful, low power development platform for their telemedicine application.

The Arm Cortex-M33 is a step up from the M4 focusing on algorithms and hardware security via Arm’s TrustZone technology and memory-protection units. The Cortex-M33 processor attempts to achieve an optimal blend between real-time algorithmic performance, energy efficiency and system security.

State-of-the art AI microcontrollers

Released in 2020, the Arm Cortex-M55 processor and its bigger brother the Cortex-M85 are targeted for AI applications on microcontrollers. These processors feature Arm’s Helium vector processing technology, bringing energy-efficient digital signal processing (DSP) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to the Cortex-M family. In November 2023, Arm announced the release of Cortex-M52 processor for IoT applications. This processor looks to replace the older M33 processor, as it combines Helium technology with Arm TrustZone technology.

Although the IP for these processors is available for licencing, only a few IC vendors have developed a microcontroller, e.g. Samsung’s Exynos W920 SoC that has been specifically designed for the wearables market. The SoC packs two Arm Cortex-A55 processors, and the Arm Mali-G68 GPU using state-of-the art 5nm semiconductor technology. The chipset also features a dedicated low-power Cortex-M55 display processor for handling AoD (Always-on Display) tasks – although a little over the top for simple wearable devices, the Exynos processor family certainly seems like an excellent choice for building next generation AI capable low-power wearable products.

So, which one do I choose?

The compromise for biomedical product developers when choosing an M4, M7 or M33 based microcontroller over an M3 device usually comes down to a trade-off between algorithmic performance, security requirements and battery life. If good battery life and simple algorithms are key, then M3 devices are a good choice. However, if more computationally intensive analysis algorithms are required (such as ML models), then the M4 or M7 should be used.

As mentioned earlier, the Armv7E-M architecture used in M4/M7 processors supports a DSP extension that implements an SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) architecture extension that can significantly improve the performance of an algorithm. The hardware floating point unit is very good for expediting MAC (multiply and accumulate) operations used in digital filtering, requiring just three cycles to complete. Other DSP operations such as add, subtract, multiply and divide require just one cycle to complete.

The M7 out performs its M4 little brother by offering approximately twice the computational performance and some devices even offer hardware double precision floating point support which make M4/M7 processors attractive for high accuracy algorithms needed for medical analysis.

If data security is paramount, for example protecting and securing transferring patient data to a cloud service, then the M33 or the M52 (when avalaible) are good choices. These devices also offer a high level of protection against tampering and running of authorised code via TrustZone’s trusted execution environment.

Some IC vendors now offer hybrid micro-controllers that implement multi-processors on chip, such as ST’s ST32Wx family that combine the M0+ and M4 in order to get the advantages of each processor and maximise battery life. 

Finally, advances in semiconductor technology means that a modern M4F processor produced with 40nm process technology may match or even surpass the energy efficiency of an M3 produced with 90nm technology from several years ago. As such, higher performance processors that were until several years too costly and energy inefficient for low-cost wearables products are rapidly becoming a viable solution to this exciting marketplace.


  • Dr. Sanjeev Sarpal

    Sanjeev is an AIoT visionary and expert in signals and systems with a track record of successfully developing over 25 commercial products. He is a Distinguished Arm Ambassador and advises top international blue chip companies on their AIoT solutions and strategies for I4.0, telemedicine, smart healthcare, smart grids and smart buildings.

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Recent research suggests that ECG wearables devices (such as smart watches) are now medically suitable for providing predictive insights into serious heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). These advancements have been facilitated by the availability of low-cost microcontrollers offering algorithmic functionality, allowing developers to implement wearables with excellent battery life and edge-based real-time data analysis.

Although the international research community has produced many innovative high-performance ECG and PPG biomedical algorithms, these are unfortunately limited to offline clinical analysis in Matlab or Python. As such, very little emphasis has been placed on building commercial real-time wearables algorithms on microcontrollers, leading manufacturers to conduct the research themselves and to design suitable candidates. 

This is further complicated by the requirement of manufacturers on how they will implement a developed algorithm in real-time on a low-cost microcontroller and still achieve decent battery life.

Arm Cortex-M microcontrollers

Over 90% of the microcontrollers used in the smart product market are powered by so-called Arm Cortex-M processors that offer a combination of high algorithmic performance, low-power and security. The Arm Cortex-M4 is a very popular choice with hundreds of silicon vendors (including ST, TI, NXP, ADI, Nordic, Microchip, Renesas), as it offers DSP (digital signal processing) functionality traditionally found in more expensive devices and is low-power.

The Cortex-M4F device offers floating point support, helping with RAD (rapid application development) as designs can be easily ported from Matlab/Python to C without the need of performing a detailed quantisation arithmetic analysis. As such, a design cycle can be cut from months to weeks, offering organisations a significant cost saving.

Arm and its rich ecosystem of partners provide developers with easy-to-use tooling and tried and tested software libraries, such as the CMSIS-DSP and CMSIS-NN frameworks and ASN’s DSP filtering library for algorithm development and machine learning.

FDA compliance

The AHA (American Heart Association) provides developers with guidelines for developing FDA-compliant ECG monitoring products. These are broken down into the following three categories: 

  1. Diagnostic: 0.05Hz -150Hz
  2. Ambulatory (wearables): 0.67Hz – 40Hz
  3. ST segment: 0.05Hz

The ECG measurements must be FDA compliant with IEC 60601-2 2-47 standards for ambulatory ECG, but what are the criteria and challenges?

Challenges with ECG/PPG measurements

Modelling the QRS complex found in ECG data is extremely difficult, as to date there is no concrete model available.  This is further complicated by the variety of ECG data depending on the position of the lead on the patient’s body and illnesses. The following list summaries the typical challenges faced by algorithm developers:

  1. Accurate baseline wander (BLW) removal remains one of the most challenging topics in ECG analysis.
  2. The BLW must be removed for accurate clinical analysis.
  3. BLW manifests itself as low-frequency ‘wander’ (typically <0.5Hz) from EMG and torso movement.
  4. QRS width widening and amplitude distortion due to filtering invalidates clinical analysis.
  5. Reducing EMG and measurement noise without altering the temporal biomedical relationships of the ECG signal.
  6. 50/60Hz powerline interference can swamp the ECG signal – this is primarily attributed to pickup by the long high impedance measurement cables. This is typically problematic for extended bandwidth wearable applications that go beyond 40Hz.
  7. Glitches, sudden movement and poor sensor contact with the skin: This is related to BLW, but usually manifests itself as abrupt glitches in the ECG measurement data. The correction algorithm must discriminate between these undesirable events and normal behaviour.
  8. IEC 60601-2 2-47 frequency response specifications:
    • Bandwidth: 0.67Hz – 40Hz.
    • Passband ripple: < ±0.5dB
    • Maximum ±10% amplitude error: most biomedical SoCs make use of a Sigma-Delta ADC, leading to amplitude droop.

Shortcomings with ECG/PPG algorithms

A mentioned in the previous section, much research has been conducted over the years with mixed results. The main shortcomings of these methods are summarised below:

  1. Computationally heavy: most algorithms have been designed for research in Matlab and not for real-time, e.g. wavelets have excellent performance but have high computational cost, leading to poor battery life and the need for an expensive processor.
  2. Large latency and warping: digital filtering chain introduces large latency, computational cost and can warp the characteristics of the biomedical features.
  3. Overlapping frequencies: there are many examples of unwanted noise overlapping the delicate ECG data, hence the popularity of time-frequency analysis, such as wavelets.
  4. Mixed results regarding BLW removal: spline removal is excellent, but it has high computational cost and has the added difficulty of finding good correction points between the QRS complexes. Linear phase FIR filtering is a good compromise but has very high computational cost (typically >1000 filter coefficients) due to the high sampling rate to cut-off frequency ratio. Non-linear phase IIR filter has low computational cost, but warps the ECG features, and is therefore unsuitable for clinical analysis.
  5. AI based kernel filters: ‘black box filter’ based on massive training data. Moderate implementation cost with performance dependent on the variety of training data, leading to unpredictable results in some cases.
  6. PPG analysis: has the added difficulty of eliminating motion from the measurement data, such as when walking or running. Although a range of tentative algorithms has been proposed by various researchers using accelerometer measurement data to correct the PPG data, very few commercial solutions are currently based on this technology.

It would seem that ECG and PPG analysis has some major obstacles to overcome, especially when considering how to deploy the algorithms on low-power microcontrollers.

The future: ASN’s real-time RCF algorithm and Advanced Analytics

Together with cardiologists from Medisch Spectrum Twente, ASN’s advanced analytics team developed the RCF (retrospective collaborative filtering) algorithm that uses time-frequency analysis to enhance the ECG data in real-time.

The essence of RCF algorithm centres around a highly optimised set of polynomial cleaning filters with different frequency characteristics that are applied to different segments of the QRS complex for enhancement. This has some synergy with wavelets, but it does not suffer from the computational burden associated with wavelet analysis.

The polynomial filters are peak preserving, meaning that they preserve the delicate biomedical peaks while smoothing out the unwanted noise/ripple. The polynomial fitting operation also overcomes the challenge of overlapping frequency content, as data within a specified region is smoothed out by the relevant filter.

RCF is further strengthened by the BLW killer IP block that implements a highly computationally efficient linear phase 0.67Hz highpass filter. The net effect is an FDA-compliant signal chain suitable for clinical analysis. The complete signal chain is extremely computationally efficient, and as such is suitable for Arm’s popular M3 and M4 Cortex-M processor families.

Real-time ECG feature extraction

The ECG waveform can be split up into segments, where each wave or segment represents a certain event in the cardiac cycle, as shown below:

As seen, the biomedical features are designated P, Q, R, S, T that define points in time within the cardiac cycle. The RCF algorithm is further strengthened with our state-of-the-art AAE (Advanced Analytics Engine) that automatically cleans and find these features for clinical analysis.

AAE supported analytics

  1. P-wave duration
  2. PR interval
  3. QRS duration
  4. QT duration (Bazett algorithm used for QTc)
  5. HR (RR interval)
  6. HRV (rMSSD algorithm used)

Armed with the real-time features, an ML model can be trained and provide valuable insights into patient health running on an edge processor inside a wearable device.


Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia, affecting millions of people worldwide. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. Signs of A-Fib are an irregular beating pattern and no p-waves. Our AAE provides developers with all of the relevant features needed to build an ML model for robust A-Fib detection.

Let us help you build your product

By combining advanced low-power processor technology, advanced mathematical algorithmic concepts and medical knowledge, our solution provides developers with an easy way of building wearable products for medical use. The high accuracy of our Advanced Analytics Engine (AAE) has been verified by cardiologists, and can be used with an additional ML model or standalone to provide people with valuable insights into potentially fatal health conditions, such as A-Fib without the need for an expensive medical examination at a hospital.

ASN’s ECG algorithmic solutions are ideal for building next generation ECG and PPG wearable products on Arm Cortex-M microcontrollers (e.g. STM32F4, MAX32660) and bio-sensor SoCs (MAX86150). These algorithms can be easily used with industry standard biomedical AFEs, such as: MAX30003, AFE4500 and AFE4950.

Please contact us for more information and to arrange an evaluation.


  • Dr. Sanjeev Sarpal

    Sanjeev is an AIoT visionary and expert in signals and systems with a track record of successfully developing over 25 commercial products. He is a Distinguished Arm Ambassador and advises top international blue chip companies on their AIoT solutions and strategies for I4.0, telemedicine, smart healthcare, smart grids and smart buildings.

    View all posts

Designs an FIR notch filter from a lowpass filter by computing the difference between the prototype lowpass filter and its amplitude complementary

Biomedical devices are at the forefront of AI and IOT (more often called AIOT). What is your most important reason to use sensors for biomedical devices?

Biomedical sensors for ai, iot and aiot to optimize

To control

  • Does the patient follow the medical instructions? Examples: is he doing his therapy on time and in the right way. Does he take his medications?  Especially groups of risk can be monitored so that timely action can be taken if necessary
  • Is treatment going well?  For both doctor and client alike. And even better:  You can optimize the healing process
  • Do medically devices still give the right measurement?
sensors biomedical devices optimize ai iot aiot

To optimize

  • Optimize your treatment: Compare the treatment results from your client with your other clients. And thus, find out point of improvement
  • Give attention for those who need it. Nobody wants to spend time unnecessary in a waiting room
  • Better use of existing resources
  • Connect systems with each other
  • Take the right decisions at the right time
  • Preventive maintenance Security

To innovate

  • Better serve your clients
  • Be at the forefront of medical developments
  • Track & trace
  • Create optimal circumstances with modern technology
sensors for biomedical devices iot ai aiot

To save

  • Give the client the best care
  • Spend your budget where most needed
  • To prevent is better than to cure
  • Prevent greater suffering, avoid extra high costs
  • Nobody is waiting for unnecessary treatment
  • Preventive maintenance on medical devices prevents higher repair costs and downtime

How biomedics can benefit from IoT:

  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of your medical treatment with IoT and thus the quality of life for your patient
  • Do you want to spend your time on patients who really need it? Treat more patients in a better way in the same time within the same budget
  • Improve and fasten your patient’s recovery… with knowledge of results of the treatment of thousands of patients
  • Be on the forefront of IoT and help your patients in ways that were not possible before
  • Better measurement with clean data
  • Security: get control of your patients’ privacy

Sensor devices improve the quality of treatment and thus of life itself. Through prevention, medical treatment itself or therapy. Sensors solutions help to improve life and can even help to save lives. No wonder medical devices are one of the fastest growing sectors in IoT.

Households want to benefit from the newest possibilities IoT devices deliver. For better health and independence as much and as long as possible. Sensor devices can especially help people with chronic diseases, elderly people and people who need constant supervision.

For medical service providers, sensor devices can help to provide the best service as possible in times of increasing medical demand but also on a growing focus on costs. So, budgets must be spent in the best way as possible. Sensors and other IoT devices can help medical facilities to treat more patients in a better way and more efficiently.

How Advanced Solutions helps

Our services can help you in the following ways:

  • IoT solutions
  • Sensor measurement
  • Security

IoT solutions

Our systems prevent accidents from happening and reduce the response time of healthcare professionals.

Sensor measurement

In biomedical applications, sensors are already used in a lot of ways. EMG and ECG are just some examples. For making the right decisions on treatment, the measurement has to be accurate. However, most sensor data suffer from the following problems:

  • Powerline interference, measurement noise and glitches
  • Baseline wander and offsets from analog instrumentation electronics
  • Biomedical sensors are sending weak signals. So, in some cases, those signals have to be strengthened before analysis is possible.

Sometimes the filtering is done in the hardware of the medical equipment. However, these are very costly solutions. And most of the times, a simpler solution and thus less costly solution is what is being sort after.

ASN Consultancy is the modern way of working of algorithm design to separate the wanted sensor signals from the undesirable unwanted signals. So, you can analyse and take action on clean and accurate sensor data.

In ECG signal processing, the Removal of 50/60Hz powerline interference from delicate information rich ECG biomedical waveforms is a challenging task! The challenge is further complicated by adjusting for the effects of EMG, such as a patient limb/torso movement or even breathing. A traditional approach adopted by many is to use a 2nd order IIR notch filter:

\(\displaystyle H(z)=\frac{1-2cosw_oz^{-1}+z^{-2}}{1-2rcosw_oz^{-1}+r^2z^{-2}}\)

where, \(w_o=\frac{2\pi f_o}{fs}\) controls the centre frequency, \(f_o\) of the notch, and \(r=1-\frac{\pi BW}{fs}\) controls the bandwidth (-3dB point) of the notch.

What’s the challenge?

As seen above, \(H(z) \) is simple to implement, but the difficulty lies in finding an optimal value of \(r\), as a desirable sharp notch means that the poles are close to unit circle (see right).

In the presence of stationary interference, e.g. the patient is absolutely still and effects of breathing on the sensor data are minimal this may not be a problem.

However, when considering the effects of EMG on the captured waveform (a much more realistic situation), the IIR filter’s feedback (poles) causes ringing on the filtered waveform, as illustrated below:

Contaminated ECG with non-stationary 50Hz powerline interference (FIR filtering), ECG sigal processing, ECG DSP, ECG measurement

Contaminated ECG with non-stationary 50Hz powerline interference (IIR filtering)

As seen above, although a majority of the 50Hz powerline interference has been removed, there is still significant ringing around the main peaks (filtered output shown in red). This ringing is undesirable for many biomedical applications, as vital cardiac information such as the ST segment cannot be clearly analysed.

The frequency reponse of the IIR used to filter the above ECG data is shown below.

IIR notch filter frequency response, ECG signal processing, ECG DSP, ECG  measurement

IIR notch filter frequency response

Analysing the plot it can be seen that the filter’s group delay (or average delay) is non-linear but almost zero in the passbands, which means no distortion. The group delay at 50Hz rises to 15 samples, which is the source of the ringing – where the closer to poles are to unit circle the greater the group delay.

ASN FilterScript offers designers the notch() function, which is a direct implemention of H(z), as shown below:

ClearH1;  // clear primary filter from cascade
ShowH2DM;   // show DM on chart

interface BW={0.1,10,.1,1};


Num = getnum(Hd); // define numerator coefficients
Den = getden(Hd); // define denominator coefficients
Gain = getgain(Hd); // define gain

Savitzky-Golay FIR filters

A solution to the aforementioned mentioned ringing as well as noise reduction can be achieved by virtue of a Savitzky-Golay lowpass smoothing filter. These filters are FIR filters, and thus have no feedback coefficients and no ringing!

Savitzky-Golay (polynomial) smoothing filters or least-squares smoothing filters are generalizations of the FIR average filter that can better preserve the high-frequency content of the desired signal, at the expense of not removing as much noise as an FIR average. The particular formulation of Savitzky-Golay filters preserves various moment orders better than other smoothing methods, which tend to preserve peak widths and heights better than Savitzky-Golay. As such, Savitzky-Golay filters are very suitable for biomedical data, such as ECG datasets.

Eliminating the 50Hz powerline component

Designing an 18th order Savitzky-Golay filter with a 4th order polynomial fit (see the example code below), we obtain an FIR filter with a zero distribution as shown on the right. However, as we wish to eliminate the 50Hz component completely, the tool’s P-Z editor can be used to nudge a zero pair (shown in green) to exactly 50Hz.

The resulting frequency response is shown below, where it can be seen that there is notch at exactly 50Hz, and the group delay of 9 samples (shown in purple) is constant across the frequency band.

FIR  Savitzky-Golay filter frequency response, ECG signal processing, ECG DSP, ECG measurement

FIR  Savitzky-Golay filter frequency response

Passing the tainted ECG dataset through our tweaked Savitzky-Golay filter, and adjusting for the group delay we obtain:

Contaminated ECG with non-stationary 50Hz powerline interference (FIR filtering), ECG signal processing, ECG digital filter, ECG filter designa

Contaminated ECG with non-stationary 50Hz powerline interference (FIR filtering)

As seen, there are no signs of ringing and the ST segments are now clearly visible for analysis. Notice also how the filter (shown in red) has reduced the measurement noise, emphasising the practicality of Savitzky-Golay filter’s for biomedical signal processing.

A Savitzky-Golay may be designed and optimised in ASN FilterScript via the savgolay() function, as follows:

ClearH1;  // clear primary filter from cascade

interface L = {2, 50,2,24};
interface P = {2, 10,1,4};


Hd=savgolay(L,P,"numeric");  // Design Savitzky-Golay lowpass


This filter may now be deployed to variety of domains via the tool’s automatic code generator, enabling rapid deployment in Matlab, Python and embedded Arm Cortex-M devices.


  • Dr. Sanjeev Sarpal

    Sanjeev is an AIoT visionary and expert in signals and systems with a track record of successfully developing over 25 commercial products. He is a Distinguished Arm Ambassador and advises top international blue chip companies on their AIoT solutions and strategies for I4.0, telemedicine, smart healthcare, smart grids and smart buildings.

    View all posts

Generations have been entertained by the gadgets and future technology portrayed in Sci-fi series, such as Star Trek, but is it all science fiction?

The Tricorder

One device that intrigued me for years was the so called ‘Tricorder’ and the ability for the doctor to read a person’s vital life signs or VLS (e.g. heart beat and respiration) with a handheld device from about a metre away.

Back to the 21st century!

With advances in radar technology over the last few years, a few chip manufacturers are now producing affordable radar devices suitable for biomedical VLS measurement. Radar technology that used to cost thousands of Euros, and was primarily aimed a military technology, is now available for a few hundred Euros, making it viable for home medical products.

Sounds great, but what can UWB (ultrawide band) pulse doppler radar do?

  • millimetre accuracy: allowing for detection of the smallest changes, such as respiration and heart rate from several metres away.
  • Penetrates duvets, blankets and clothes: The virtue of the small wavelength ensures accurate detection of humans in a bed or sitting in chair watching TV or reading a book.
  • Penetrates Walls and doors: Tracking of VLS and movement when radar is mounted within a ceiling or behind a wall – no ugly module on the wall!
  • High sensitivity: able to see the VLS from tiny premature babies.
  • Ultra-safe technology: RF emission is 0.01% the energy typically found in a household WiFi router – meaning that prolonged exposure will have no detrimental effects on human health.

After receiving a request from a client about monitoring the health of an eldery person living alone or in a nursing home, we decided to conduct a few tests of our own to see what was possible with this new technology.

VLS of a subject lying in bed

After building a demonstrator, and placing the radar sensor about 1 metre from a subject sleeping (similar to the doctor in Star Trek), we obtained the following waveform:

Captured VLS data captured from a UWB radar – containing both heart beat and respiration information

Wow! Was our initial reaction to the test data – this is millimetre movement through a duvet! Notice how slow the biomedical signal is, as an average adult’s respiration rate at rest is about 12bpm, requiring relatively long data acquisition times (tens of seconds) for meaningful data analysis.

What’s the respiration and heart beat?

Passing the signal through our algorithm, we could easily estimate the respiration (RR) and heartbeat (HB) from the plot (see the two red squares on the two peaks). However, in order to be objective, we attached a clip-on pulse oximeter to the subject finger, and as seen they matched very well.

What does this all mean for me?
Contactless VLS measurement for home use is closer than you think, and is certainly not science-fiction anymore. This technology opens up many possibilities for monitoring when normal sensors are infeasible, such as premature babies, patients with dementia and even sleep trend analysis. We’ll improve our algorithm in order to make it more robust and faster, but as seen our results are very promising indeed, and open up the possibility of contactless vital life signs (VLS) measurements for many practical applications!