Clinical devises that can measure vital sign are essential tools in the monitoring of people’s health condition, but they generally required to be attached to the person’s body meaning that people cannot be monitored at all times.


Pulse oximetry and the measurement of heart rate and blood oxygen saturation level provide clinicians with critical information about the patient’s wellbeing, alerting them when patient health is deteriorating. A pulse oximeter, which is a clip on a patient’s finger that calculates oxygen levels in the blood by using light of two wavelengths is currently used for this purpose. This pulse oximeter clip method is both reliable and cost effective. However, it has several problems: it requires the patient to have something physically clipped to them, which can be difficult for the patient to maintain (e.g. in pediatrics or special needs cases). It is also cumbersome for the average patient to wear for long periods of time.

A heart rate of less than 40, or more than 130 beats per minute, or an oxygen saturation level of less than 90%, indicates something is wrong with the patient
Taenzer et al. 2010


A system was developed to remotely and automatically measure people’s heart rate and oxygenation levels. It uses the Microsoft Kinect sensor which has a high definition colour camera used in the video game industry (Xbox) and a co-registered narrow band infrared camera that is able to capture vital signs in people’s faces through the use of computer algorithms.  This revolutionary sensor currently works in real-time, recording these vital signs over time for faces that are currently in view of the camera. The devise provides all the necessary information to reliably measure the heart rate and oxygenation level for up to 10 people and at a low cost (£159) as the Kinect sensor is currently available and mass produced.

The devise could be used in a clinical environment to monitor hospital patients. Also it would be beneficial in triage so that new high risk patients can be identified immediately using these measurements, before any device is clipped to them. It could also be used in care homes or at home so that a the person can be monitored throughout the day.