Camera-based remote photoplethysmography (remote-PPG) technology has shown great potential for contactless pulse-rate monitoring. However, remote-PPG systems typically analyze face images, which may restrict applications in view of privacy-preserving regulations such as the recently announced General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union. In this paper, we investigate the case of using single-element sensing as an input for remote-PPG extraction, which prohibits facial analysis and thus evades privacy issues. It also improves the efficiency of data storage and transmission. In contrast to known remote-PPG solutions using skin-selection techniques, the input signals in a single-element setup will contain a non-negligible degree of signal components associated with non-skin areas. Current remote-PPG extraction methods based on physiological and optical properties of skin reflections are therefore no longer valid. A new remote-PPG method, named Soft Signature based extraction (SoftSig), is proposed to deal with this situation by softening the dependence of pulse extraction on prior knowledge. A large-scale experiment validates the concept of single-element remote-PPG monitoring and shows the improvement of SoftSig over general purpose solutions.
- Vital signs monitoring
- remote sensing