NewsIndiaTimes - page 11

News India Times April 17, 2015
Overseas Affairs Official Meets With Community Representatives
ndian-American researchers
from Rice University have
created a touch-free system
that uses a video camera to
monitor the vital signs of
patients just by looking at their
The team of graduate student
Mayank Kumar and professors
Ashok Veeraraghavan and
Ashutosh Sabharwal created the
system that will let doctors diag-
nose patients from a distance
with special attention paid to
those in low-resource settings.
The technique, called
DistancePPG, can measure a
patient’s pulse and breathing just
by analysing the changes in one’s
skin color over time.
Where other camera-based
systems have been challenged by
low-light conditions, dark skin
tones and movement,
DistancePPG relies on algo-
rithms that correct for those vari-
ables. “DistancePPG will be par-
ticularly helpful to monitor pre-
mature infants for whom blood
pressure cuffs or wired probes
can pose a threat,” said Mayank
Kumar, the project’s lead gradu-
ate researcher. The wires moni-
tor babies’ pulses and heart rate.
“The wires are not a problem.
The problem is that the babies
would roll or their mothers need
to take care of them and the
wires are taken off and put back
on,” Mayank Kumar said.
That could potentially dam-
age the infants’ delicate skin. The
existing techniques worked fine
in bright rooms but there were
three challenges.
The first was the technique’s
difficulty in detecting color
change in darker skin tones.
Second, the light was not always
bright enough. The third and
perhaps hardest problemwas
that patients sometimes move.
The Rice team solved these
challenges by adding a method
to average skin-color change sig-
nals from different areas of the
face and an algorithm to track a
subject’s nose, eyes, mouth and
whole face.
“Our key finding was that the
strength of the skin-color change
signal is different in different
regions of the face, so we devel-
oped a weighted-averaging algo-
rithm,” Mayank Kumar
It improved the accuracy of
derived vital signs, rapidly
expanding the scope, viability,
reach and utility of camera-
based vital-sign monitoring.
By incorporating tracking to
compensate for movement –
even a smile –DistancePPG per-
ceived a pulse rate to within one
beat per minute, even for diverse
skin tones under varied lighting
According to researchers, they
expect the software to find its
way to mobile phones, tablets
and computers so people can
reliably measure their own vital
signs whenever and wherever
they choose. The research
appeared in the journal
Biomedical Optics Express.
Indian-AmericanTrioCreates SystemtoMonitor Vital Signs
From left, researchers
Ashutosh Sabharwal,
Mayank Kumar and Ashok
Right, News India Times publisher
and Padma Shri awardee Dr.
Sudhir M. Parikh, asks a question
to Sunil Soni, secretary at the
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs,
at a breakfast meeting at the
Consulate General of India in New
York, April 10. Around 20
prominent Indian-Americans, some
of them representatives of
community organizations, as well
as a representative each from the
consulate and the Indian Embassy
in Washington, D.C., attended the
meeting. The purpose of the
meeting was to reach out to the
Indian diaspora in the U.S. for
suggestive reforms and collect
feedback for new initiatives that
the ministry will announce in a
few days. Participants also ques-
tioned Soni on issues affecting the
Indian community here. Below
right, Dr. Parikh in conversation
with Soni.
Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University
Peter Ferreira
Peter Ferreira
– that’s all you need to know
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