First smart speaker system to detect heart rhythm without contact

Scientists have developed a system that uses smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home to automatically monitor nearby human heart rhythms, which will soon become a good helper for monitoring the heart health of Family members.

Now, these smart speakers can listen to the owner’s commands to control the home appliances, or monitor some of the family’s health problems, such as the baby’s breathing and in the family heart attack when the alarm.

The University of Washington artificial intelligence systems engineers use these devices, surprisingly accurate to measure the human heart rate such as subtle movements. These speakers directly “hear” the heartbeat of people in the house? Not so.

This system allows the speaker to continuously emit a sound inaudible to the human ear, and then receive the sound signal bounced back from the human body, the use of artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze the changes in the signal, from which the human heartbeat to find the subtle fluttering of the skin, and finally determine the information of the heart rhythm.

Anran Wang, the lead author of the research paper on the system, said, “The changes in chest heaving caused by human breathing are several orders of magnitude stronger than the skin flutter caused by a heartbeat, and the breathing signal is not regular, so it is impossible to simply filter the breathing signal out of the data with a certain pattern, so it is a big challenge to separate the heartbeat signal from such complex data. heartbeat signal from such complex data is a big challenge.”

After determining the heartbeat signal, the ultimate goal of the system is to measure the body’s heart rhythm. Heart rhythm is the regularity of the heartbeat, while heart rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute. Nowadays, smart watches and sports bracelets are wearable devices that count the number of times the human heart beats per minute.

But what doctors need to know more is the heart rhythm of the body, the pattern of Time between heartbeats. For example, if a person has 60 heartbeats per minute, this can be evenly once per second, or it can be an uneven beat.

“Arrhythmias are a common heart problem, which can lead to stroke, but it’s hard to predict when this condition will occur which is why it’s not easy to diagnose clinically. The availability of low-cost devices that can monitor heart rhythms frequently would revolutionize the early detection and treatment of this condition.” Arun Sridhar, assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said.

The system can measure the heart rhythm of the human body within a foot or two of the front of the speaker, the study said.

The researchers tested 26 healthy people and 24 patients with various heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation and heart failure, and compared the results with those measured by standard heart-rhythm detection instruments.

The results showed that of the 12,300 heartbeat signals collected from healthy subjects, the heart rhythm measurements were within 28 milliseconds of the standard instrument; of the 5,600 heartbeat data from heart disease patients, the heart rhythm measurements were within 30 milliseconds of the standard instrument.

The researchers said the system can now be used to test at any time, when people are concerned about whether their heart rhythm is normal, sitting in front of the system for testing. The researchers hope to improve the system in the future, continuous monitoring while people sleep, the data is very helpful for doctors to diagnose.

The study was published March 9 in the journal Communications Biology.