2011 Volume 30 Issue 6 Pages 241-249
Recently, nonrestrictive and noninvasive sensing techniques to measure vital signs have been actively researched and developed. This study aimed to develop a prototype system to monitor cardiac activity using microwave radar without making contact with the body and without removing clothing—namely, a completely noncontact, remote monitoring system. In addition, heart rate and changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during simple mental arithmetic tasks were observed with the prototype system. The prototype system has a microwave Doppler radar antenna with 24 GHz frequency and approximately 7 mW output power. The experiments were conducted with seven subjects (23.00±0.82 years). We found that the prototype system captured heart rate and HRV precisely. The strong relationship between the heart rates during tasks (r=0.96), LF (cross-correlation=0.76), and LF/HF (cross-correlation=0.73) of HRV calculated from the prototype system and from electrocardiograph (ECG) measurements were confirmed. The proposed completely noncontact, remote method appears promising for future monitoring of cardiac activity as an indicator of changes in mental workload in workplaces.