Human World

Monitor your heart rate at home via webcam

In the future, monitor your vital statistics at home via webcam. The New York Times Magazine’s 10th annual “Year in Ideas” features what’s called the Cardiocam. It’s a webcam that can take your heart rate by measuring slight variations in your skin tone. The idea is that patients can monitor their own vital statistics easily, every day, and notice any deviations in their health. The Cardiocam was invented by a team of researchers at the MIT media lab.

In their video, you see a man casually washing his face and looking into a mirror. The mirror measured his vital signs, and then allowed him to check in with his doctor. How did he do that? It’s a stunning invention from Ming-Zher Poh, a member of the Cardiocam team, called a “medical mirror.” The mirror is actually a two-way mirror with a computer monitor behind it. The computer has a built-in camera to serve as the Cardiocam, and if it’s connected to the internet, it can transmit your data to your doctor. Poh explains how it works.

The New York Times “Year in Ideas” is out this weekend, with a cool interactive feature online now. Poh and his colleagues continue to develop the Cardiocam and medical mirror’s capabilities and accuracy – meaning, they won’t be on shelves in time for Christmas.

Marc Goldyne uses information technologies to deliver medical care

December 16, 2010
Human World

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