Noncontact imaging photoplethysmography to effectively access pulse rate variability

Noncontact imaging photoplethysmography (PPG) can provide physiological assessment at various anatomical locations with no discomfort to the patient. However, most previous imaging PPG (iPPG) systems have been limited by a low sample frequency, which restricts their use clinically, for instance, in the assessment of pulse rate variability (PRV). In the present study, plethysmographic signals are remotely captured via an iPPG system at a rate of 200 fps. The physiological parameters (i.e., heart and respiration rate and PRV) derived from the iPPG datasets yield statistically comparable results to those acquired using a contact PPG sensor, the gold standard. More importantly, we present evidence that the negative influence of initial low sample frequency could be compensated via interpolation to improve the time domain resolution. We thereby provide further strong support for the low-cost webcam-based iPPG technique and, importantly, open up a new avenue for effective noncontact assessment of multiple physiological parameters, with potential applications in the evaluation of cardiac autonomic activity and remote sensing of vital physiological signs.