Washington - Researchers have developed a method that uses the camera on a person's smartphone or computer to take their pulse and respiration signal from a real-time video of their face.
The development comes at a time when telehealth has become a critical way for doctors to provide health care while minimising in-person contact during Covid-19.
The University of Washington-led team's system uses machine learning to capture subtle changes in how light reflects off a person's face, which is correlated with changing blood flow. Then it converts these changes into both pulse and respiration rate.
The researchers presented the system in December at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference.
Now the team is proposing a better system to measure these physiological signals.
This system is less likely to be tripped up by different cameras, lighting conditions or facial features, such as skin colour, according to the researchers who will present these findings on April 8 at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Health, Interference, and Learning.
"Every person is different," said lead study author Xin Liu, a UW doctoral student.
"So this system needs to be able to quickly adapt to each person's unique physiological signature, and separate this from other variations, such as what they look like and what environment they are in."
The first version of this system was trained with a dataset that contained both videos of people's faces and "ground truth" information: each person's pulse and respiration rate measured by standard instruments in the field.
The system then used spatial and temporal information from the videos to calculate both vital signs.
While the system worked well on some datasets, it still struggled with others that contained different people, backgrounds and lighting. This is a common problem known as "overfitting," the team said.
The researchers improved the system by having it produce a personalised machine learning model for each individual.
Specifically, it helps look for important areas in a video frame that likely contain physiological features correlated with changing blood flow in a face under different contexts, such as different skin tones, lighting conditions and environments.
From there, it can focus on that area and measure the pulse and respiration rate.
While this new system outperforms its predecessor when given more challenging datasets, especially for people with darker skin tones, there is still more work to do, the team said. (IANS)
Seoul, March 11 (IANS) More than 20 per cent of South Korean smartphone users are at risk of being overly dependent on the devices, a survey has showed.The Ministry of Science and ICT said 23.3 per cent of smartphone users in the country were at risk last year, up 3.3 percentage points from the previous year, citing a survey carried out by the National Information Society Agency.The survey, which interviewed 15,000 people across the country on their smartphone usage, found that 19.3 per cent were at potential risk, while 4 percent were at high risk of being too reliant on the mobile devices.The survey characterised users who have weak control over their smartphone usage and start to have problems with health and daily life as being at potential risk, while grouping those that have lost control and experience severe problems as being at high risk.The majority of the respondents, 61 per cent, said individuals were responsible for solving their dependency problem on the devices, followed by companies at 21.8 per cent and the government at 17.2 per cent, reports Yonhap news agency.South Korea ranked as the top country in terms of smartphone ownership among adults at 95 per cent, according to the U.S.-based Pew Research Center.--IANSna/
London- A team of researchers have developed a smartphone app that may help people who are looking to work on their personality.
The majority of participants, who used the app for three months, said that they wanted to reduce their emotional vulnerability, increase their conscientiousness or extraversion.
Those who participated in the intervention for more than three months reported greater success in achieving their change goals than the control group who took part for only two months, indicated the findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The participants and their friends alike reported that three months after the end of the intervention, the personality changes brought about by using the app had persisted," said researcher Mathias Allemand from the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
"These surprising results show that we are not just slaves to our personality, but that we can deliberately make changes to routine experience and behaviour patterns," Allemand added.
According to the study, personality traits such as conscientiousness or sociability are patterns of experience and behaviour that can change throughout our lives.
Individual changes usually take place slowly as people gradually adapt to the demands of society and their environment. However, it is unclear whether certain personality traits can also be psychologically influenced in a short-term and targeted manner.
For the study, the team included around 1,500 participants, who were provided with a specially developed smartphone app, called PEACH, for three months and the researchers then assessed whether and how their personalities had changed.
The five major personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, sociability (extraversion), considerateness (agreeableness), and emotional vulnerability (neuroticism) were examined.
The app included elements of knowledge transfer, behavioural and resource activation, self-reflection, and feedback on progress. All communication with the digital coach and companion (a chatbot) took place virtually.
Close friends and family members also observed changes in those participants who wanted to increase expression of a certain personality trait. However, for those who wanted to reduce expression of a trait, the people close to them noticed little change.
The app was developed as a research tool. In the future, however, it is thought that research apps such as PEACH will be made widely available, the researchers said. (IANS)
New York, Dec 13 (IANS) Scientists have developed a portable saliva-based smartphone platform for rapid Covid-19 testing that they claim can provide results within 15 minutes without the resource-intensive laboratory tests.The new technique detailed in the journal Science Advances pairs a fluorescence microscope readout device with a smartphone to determine viral load from a CRISPR/Cas12a assay.The new test works as effectively as the well-established quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction method, the experiments in a small number of participants showed."We believe this smartphone platform, a similar future application, offers the potential to rapidly expand Covid-19 screening capacity, and potentially simplify the verification of contact tracing, to improve local containment and inform regional disease control efforts," the authors wrote.Most Covid-19 tests currently require swabbing the upper part of the throat behind the nose -- an uncomfortable process that requires medical professionals in full protective gear to collect samples in airborne infection isolation rooms before running RT-PCR tests.However, recent studies have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, may be equally present in the nasopharynx and the saliva during early infection, suggesting saliva-based Covid-19 tests could enable comparably reliable but simpler, safer testing.To develop a widely accessible platform for saliva-based testing, Bo Ning from Tulane University School of Medicine in the US and colleagues built a prototype assay chip that uses the CRISPR/Cas12a enzyme to enhance an amplified viral RNA target's signal within a saliva sample.They integrated the chip into a smartphone-based fluorescence microscope readout device, which captures and analyses images to determine whether the virus is present above a threshold concentration.The researchers used this design to analyse saliva from 12 patients with Covid-19 and six healthy controls, finding that the approach successfully distinguished between patients with and without the virus.Additionally, the researchers compared nasal and saliva swabs from non-human primates before and after infection.They found higher SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels in the saliva swabs, further suggesting that saliva may provide a robust means of diagnosis after infection.--IANSgb/rs
New York, Oct 23 (IANS) A new tool created by researchers could diagnose a stroke based on abnormalities in a patient's speech ability and facial muscular movements, and with the accuracy -- all within minutes from an interaction with a smartphoneAccording to a study, researchers have developed a machine learning model to aid in, and potentially speed up, the diagnostic process by physicians in a clinical setting."Currently, physicians have to use their past training and experience to determine at what stage a patient should be sent for a CT scan," said study author James Wang from Penn State University in the US."We are trying to simulate or emulate this process by using our machine learning approach," Wang added.The team's novel approach analysed the presence of stroke among actual emergency room patients with suspicion of stroke by using computational facial motion analysis and natural language processing to identify abnormalities in a patient's face or voice, such as a drooping cheek or slurred speech.To train the computer model, the researchers built a dataset from more than 80 patients experiencing stroke symptoms at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. Each patient was asked to perform a speech test to analyze their speech and cognitive communication while being recorded on an Apple iPhone."The acquisition of facial data in natural settings makes our work robust and useful for real-world clinical use, and ultimately empowers our method for remote diagnosis of stroke and self-assessment," said Huang.Testing the model on the Houston Methodist dataset, the researchers found that its performance achieved 79 per cent accuracy -- comparable to clinical diagnostics by emergency room doctors, who use additional tests such as CT scans. However, the model could help save valuable time in diagnosing a stroke, with the ability to assess a patient in as little as four minutes.--IANSbu/arm
New York - Smartphones not only reveal your screen time, chat history or gaming preferences but are a useful tool to find a link between individuals' daily spiritual experiences and overall well-being, say researchers.
While other studies have found such a connection between spirituality and positive emotions, the new study is significant because frequent texting over smartphones made it easier to capture respondents' moment-to-moment spiritual experiences over 14 days rather than only one or two points in time.
Using smartphone check-ins twice a day for two weeks, researchers from Baylor University and Harvard University examined whether spirituality's link with satisfaction is stable or momentary,
"This study is unique because it examines daily spiritual experiences -- such as feeling God's presence, finding strength in religion or spirituality, and feeling inner peace and harmony -- as both stable traits and as states that fluctuate," said study co-author Matt Bradshaw, research professor of sociology at Baylor University.
The findings suggest that stable, consistent spiritual experiences as well as short-term periodic ones both serve as resources to promote human flourishing and help individuals cope with stressful conditions.
Additionally, "the prevalence of smartphones makes this sort of 'experience sampling' study doable on a much larger scale than in the past, when pagers or palm pilots were used to trigger data collection," said lead author Blake Victor Kent, Research Fellow of Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital.
The study, published in The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, used data from SoulPulse, a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation, to study religion, spirituality and mental and physical well-being.
Participants were 2,795 individuals who signed up for the study.
"The findings indicate, as you would expect, that the wear and tear of daily stressors are associated with increased depressive symptoms and lower levels of flourishing," Kent said.
Essentially, if you take two people who have equal levels of stress, "the one with more spiritual experiences will be less likely to report depressive symptoms and more likely to indicate feelings of flourishing. That's a comparison between two people".
The unique thing about this study was that the sociologists were able to show that when someone's spiritual experiences vary day to day, the 'above average' days of spiritual experience are associated with better mental well-being than the 'below average' days. (Agency)