Comparison of scientific CMOS camera and webcam for monitoring cardiac pulse after exercise

In light of its capacity for remote physiological assessment over a wide range of anatomical locations, imaging photoplethysmography has become an attractive research area in biomedical and clinical community. Amongst recent iPPG studies, two separate research directions have been revealed, i.e., scientific camera based imaging PPG (iPPG) and webcam based imaging PPG (wPPG). Little is known about the difference between these two techniques. To address this issue, a dual-channel imaging PPG system (iPPG and wPPG) using ambient light as the illumination source has been introduced in this study. The performance of the two imaging PPG techniques was evaluated through the measurement of cardiac pulse acquired from the face of 10 male subjects before and after 10 min of cycling exercise. A time-frequency representation method was used to visualize the time-dependent behaviour of the heart rate. In comparison to the gold standard contact PPG, both imaging PPG techniques exhibit comparable functional characteristics in the context of cardiac pulse assessment. Moreover, the synchronized ambient light intensity recordings in the present study can provide additional information for appraising the performance of the imaging PPG systems. This feasibility study thereby leads to a new route for non-contact monitoring of vital signs, with clear applications in triage and homecare.