Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours)

School

School of Computing, Health and Science

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr. Martin Masek

Abstract

Pulse wave velocity has been recognised as an important physiological phenomenon in the human body, and its measurement can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. It is the gold standard for arterial stiffness measurements, and it also shares a positive relationship with blood pressure and heart rate. There exist several methods and devices via which it can be measured. However, commercially available devices are more geared towards working health professionals and hospital settings, requiring a significant monetary investment and specialised training to operate correctly. Furthermore, most of these devices are not portable and thus generally not feasible for private home use by the common individual. Given its usefulness as an indicator of certain physiological functions, it is expected that having a more portable, affordable, and simple to use solution would present many benefits to both end users and healthcare professionals alike. This study investigated and developed a working model for a new approach to pulse wave velocity measurement, based on existing methods, but making use of novel equipment. The proposed approach made use of a mobile phone video camera and audio input in conjunction with a Doppler ultrasound probe. The underlying principle is that of a two-point measurement system utilising photoplethysmography and electrocardiogram signals, an existing method commonly found in many studies. Data was collected using the mobile phone sensors and processed and analysed on a computer. A custom program was developed in MATLAB that computed pulse wave velocity given the audio and video signals and a measurement of the distance between the two data acquisition sites. Results were compared to the findings of previous studies in the field, and showed similar trends. As the power of mobile smartphones grows, there exists potential for the work and methods presented here to be fully developed into a standalone mobile application, which would bring forth real benefits of portability and cost-effectiveness to the prospective user base.

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