Many wearable health trackers now include heart rate variability (HRV) measurements. When smartwatches and other trackers beam HRV data to their associated mobile apps, users get various insights about stress and heart health based on personal HRV trends. Soon, however, users may choose to skip the wearable altogether. Leading-edge technology developed by Binah.ai now makes measuring HRV as simple as snapping a selfie on a smartphone.
Israeli startup Binah.ai designs video-based health monitoring technology that turns a laptop or smartphone camera into a vital signs monitor. Available to makers of digital wellness platforms, Binah.ai’s technology is delivered as a software development kit (SDK) for Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. Companies can use the kit to tailor camera monitoring for their existing platforms as well as products still in development.
Binah.ai’s software enables the device camera with remote photoplethysmography (rPP) technology, which detects subtle changes in color on facial skin. The software also lets the camera measure respiration, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation using machine learning to analyze these constant color shifts that are undetectable by the human eye. The programs run right on the device, evaluating camera data in seconds without recording video or uploading any personal information to the cloud.
To calculate HRV, the AI algorithms evaluate the time interval between one heartbeat and the next. This interval isn’t a fixed length, and it changes throughout the day depending on activity levels, fitness, age, and other individual factors. Heart rate is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which has two branches; the parasympathetic branch is associated with resting and digesting while the sympathetic branch activates the “fight or flight” response. Variation in the length of intervals increases when the body relaxes and the pulse slows. Likewise, variation decreases when the heart beats faster.
Lower HRV number trends can indicate that the sympathetic nervous system is working overtime, i.e., that the user is experiencing stress. Stress has been linked to many health concerns including heart disease and high blood pressure. HRV itself has likewise been linked to cardiovascular health.
Empowering personal devices to monitor HRV means that more individuals could benefit from meaningful information about their own health. Globally, more than 3.78 billion people now have a smartphone, while less than one billion own a connected wearable device. And in an increasingly connected world, Binah.ai’s enhanced privacy is a refreshing change that could give the new technology another leading edge over cloud-based monitoring platforms.