Creepy Or Cool? Your Webcam Can Now Monitor Your Pulse

GitHub.com

GitHub.com

Webcams already have all sorts of practical purposes, from chatting with your friends, to business teleconferencing, to the growing number of people who make money baring their all on cam. But now, some clever folks have figured out a way to use your cam to monitor your heart rate, just by looking at your forehead.

According to GitHub [via Gizmodo], the application will:

“find the location of the user’s face, then isolate the forehead region. Data is collected from this location over time to estimate the user’s heartbeat frequency. This is done by measuring average optical intensity in the forehead location, in the subimage’s green channel alone. Physiological data can be estimated this way thanks to the optical absorbtion characteristics of oxygenated hemoglobin.

With good lighting and minimal noise due to motion, a stable heartbeat should be isolated in about 15 seconds. Other physiological waveforms, such as Mayer waves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayer_waves), should also be visible in the raw data stream.”

To us, this is both really neat — in the “look what science can do!” way — and kinda terrifying — in the “should science really be doing that?” way — so we wanted to get the metaphorical pulse of Consumerist readers, whose actual pulse we will not be monitoring… yet.