Google Glass used to measure biometric signals

Researchers from MIT's Media Lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Interactive Computing have used sensors embedded in Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Glass to measure physiological signals of a wearer, leveraging capabilities of the device's accelerometer, gyroscope and camera to monitor a user's head movements and gather pulse and respiratory rates.

The researchers contend that biometric apps based on such measurements could eventually provide health benefits. "Being able to comfortably monitor physiological information during daily life can reduce the costs associated with health care," they said in a research paper. For example, the data could be used to monitor a user's stress level and help him or her control it.

A dozen study participants were included in the researchers' study, called Bioglass. The study was based on the concept of ballistocardiography, which shows that "the mechanical ballistic forces of the heart elicit subtle body movements," the paper said.

Researchers created a custom Android application to simultaneously log information from the accelerometer, the gyroscope and the camera of an early beta version of the Google Glass smart eyewear. They were able to pull data regarding heart and respiration rates from the accelerometer and gyroscope readings and even extracted motion measurements from Google Glass' video function.

Yin Li, a paper coauthor and graduate student at Georgia Tech, told MIT Technology Review that researchers are now developing a new app that can capture and analyze the biometric signals in real time.

The methods used to pull info from Google Glass would work with any pair of glasses embedded with a camera and the right sensors, according to Rosalind Picard, also a paper coauthor and an MIT professor in charge of the Media Lab's affective computing research group.

For more:
- see this research paper (PDF)
- see this MIT Technology Review article

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