Automatic Selection of Webcam Photoplethysmographic Pixels Based on Lightness Criteria


We propose, in this study, an original method that was developed to remotely measure the instantaneous pulse rate using photoplethysmographic signals that were recorded from a low-cost webcam. The method is based on a prior selection of pixels of interest using a custom segmentation that used the face lightness distribution to define different sub-regions. The most relevant sub-regions are automatically selected and combined by evaluating their respective signal to noise ratio. Performances of the proposed technique were evaluated using an approved contact sensor on a set of seven healthy subjects. Different experiments while reading, with motion or while performing common tasks on a computer were conducted in the laboratory. The proposed segmentation technique was compared with other benchmark methods that were already introduced in the scientific literature. The results exhibit high degrees of correlation and low pulse rate absolute errors, demonstrating that the segmentation we propose in this study outperform available region-of-interest selection methods.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frédéric Bousefsaf.

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Conflict of interest

Frederic Bousefsaf, Choubeila Maaoui and Alain Pruski declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Bousefsaf, F., Maaoui, C. & Pruski, A. Automatic Selection of Webcam Photoplethysmographic Pixels Based on Lightness Criteria. J. Med. Biol. Eng. 37, 374–385 (2017).

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  • Remote photoplethysmography
  • Pulse rate
  • Webcam
  • Region of interest