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Radar for Health Care: Recognizing Human Activities and Monitoring Vital Signs

Fioranelli, Francesco and Le Kernec, Julien and Shah, Syed Aziz (2019) Radar for Health Care: Recognizing Human Activities and Monitoring Vital Signs. IEEE Potentials, 38 (4). pp. 16-23. ISSN 0278-6648


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Although typically associated with large-scale, defense -related use to monitor ships and aircraft, radar has been employed in the past few years for a number of short-range, civilian applications. We have discussed and presented some examples of radar used to support health-care provisions, to help monitor vital signs of patients at risk and their daily activities, a useful proxy for their more general physical and cognitive well-being. Unlike cameras and wearables, radar does not collect sensitive images of the people monitored or require users to wear, carry, or interact with new devices that may be perceived as intrusive; it can, therefore, have significant advantages in terms of users' perception and compliance. We have shown a few experimental results of the radar signatures for different human activities as well as an example of radar data tracking the respiratory rate of a monitored subject. The collection and full understanding of these data will be key to developing innovative signal processing and machine-learning algorithms to automate monitoring and consequently timely and proactive diagnostics for future healthcare provision.

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