Watch This: To a Computer Program, Your Heartbeat is Visible in the Color of Your Face

By Veronique Greenwood | July 24, 2012 11:57 am

Did you know your face actually turns slightly red each time your heart beats, when fresh blood pumps through it? Neither did I, and that’s because it’s so slight that our visual perception system doesn’t pick up on it. Ah, but what if you could use a computer program to magnify the changes so they become visible? That’s just what computer scientists at MIT did, and the result is fascinating: watch the video above (starting at 1:25) and see how with every heartbeat, a man’s face turns tomato red, then fades to a pallid yellow. The program is so precise that it can accurately calculate a person’s heart rate from the color changes.

[via Technology Review]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Los Angeles Cardiologist

    It is fascinating to think of the possible applications of this technology of remote monitoring of heart rates and for telemedicine in general.

  • Steve

    Is this possible with commodity cameras or are special cameras needed?

  • Micah


  • Richard

    That’s amazing. Mark Changizi is currently involved in developing glasses that also amplify skin coloration changes, they’re called O2Amps. I don’t think it’s nearly as strong as this, but still fascinating.
    Wondering, will this software become publicly available? And can it be used with all kinds of color videos?

  • Mark Changizi

    Richard, there are indeed similarities, but lots of differences. Our O2Amps come in three varieties, accentuating different blood signals, some signals which cameras can pick up (and amplify), some which cameras cannot pick up. [ ]


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