Heart Rate Extraction in a Headphone Using Infrared Thermometry

G. de Graaf, Daniel Kuratomi Cruz , Jaap C. Haartsen, Frank Hooijschuur, Paddy J. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The heart rate is a vital indicator of the health state of an individual. By continuously monitoring it, the fitness and health of the cardiovascular system of a user can be analyzed and impending problematic health episodes could be addressed better. Existing techniques to measure heart rate, such as electrocardiogram or photoplethysmography, are either uncomfortable for the user, or are not low-power or sensitive to motion artifacts. Infrared thermography is a non-contact technique with improved user comfort and low power consumption. In this paper, we have analyzed, built, and tested a novel system that uses infrared differential thermometry to detect the heart rate in the auricle. The sensor system was fitted into a commercial headphone since this paper is a first step into integration of the system in a Bluetooth headset. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no previous work on the detection of the heart rate signal in the ear using infrared thermometry. Positive results have been obtained after extraction of the frequency features of the bioheat transfer signal on test persons in rest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1062
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Heart rate monitoring
  • in-ear bioheat transfer
  • infrared thermometry
  • wavelet transform


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