Measurement of subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness by near-infrared

  • Yu Wang
  • Zeqiang Yang
  • Dongmei Hao
  • Song Zhang
  • Yimin Yang
  • Yanjun Zeng
Scientific Paper


Obesity is strongly associated with the risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and there is a need to measure the subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) layer thickness and to understand the distribution of body fat. A device was designed to illuminate the body parts by near-infrared (NIR), measure the backscattered light, and predict the SAT layer thickness. The device was controlled by a single-chip microcontroller (SCM), and the thickness value was presented on a liquid crystal display (LCD). There were 30 subjects in this study, and the measurements were performed on 14 body parts for each subject. The paper investigated the impacts of pressure and skin colour on the measurement. Combining with principal component analysis (PCA) and support vector regression (SVR), the measurement accuracy of SAT layer thickness was 89.1 % with a mechanical caliper as reference. The measuring range was 5–11 mm. The study provides a non-invasive and low-cost technique to detect subcutaneous fat thickness, which is more accessible and affordable compared to other conventional techniques. The designed device can be used at home and in community.


Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) Near-Infrared Skinfold caliper Linear regression Support vector regression (SVR) 


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Copyright information

© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life Science and BioengineeringBeijing University of TechnologyBeijingChina

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