Laptop Webcam Can Tell If Your Heart is Healthy

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Ming-Zher Poh, a graduate student at MIT, has made it possible for a webcam to tell how healthy you and your heart are, by just looking at you. There’s no need to hook yourself up to any machine, or test your blood. Just look at the webcam, and you’ll have your result displayed to you.

It’s all done by a clever algorithm that looks at a webcam feed of your face and measures “slight variations in brightness produced by the flow of blood through blood vessels in the face.”

According to Poh, the trickiest part was accounting for all the lighting and color effects as the subject’s face moved in the ambient lighting conditions. Overcoming this involved adapting algorithms from those in voice recognition systems that isolate a particular voice from a room of other voices.

In tests, it worked well enough that it matched up with the results of FDA-approved devices.

The hardware used is simple and cheap enough that it could be installed almost anywhere from a mirror in your home, or even using your own cell phone camera.

Poh believes that this technology could be improved in the future, to work as a lie detector. It could tell when you’re lying about something, or when you are nervous.

Check out the video below: