XRCI, Manipal Varsity Hospital to Build Remote Sensing Healthcare Technology

Xerox India, a part of Xerox Corporation, a global enterprise for business process and document management services and Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI) has announced a suite of healthcare research projects that aim to improve healthcare for patients not just in India but all over the world.

Researchers at Xerox Innovation Group (XIG) are collaborating with Manipal University Hospital to develop non-contact health sensing technology that can accurately obtain and track healthcare vitals such as heart rate, temperature and some respiratory functions. It can also detect cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heart beat) without any probes touching the patient. The innovation promises to change how medical professionals collect and use important health data.

The Xerox remote health sensing technology opens up new avenues in telemedicine. A non-contact system that is accurate can not only greatly improve the comfort of the patients but also has possible applications for remote healthcare at homes, clinics and in rural villages and locations that may be far from a specialist. Xerox foresees great hopes for how this technology can change the work of a therapist and how medical doctors practice medicine in the future.

“This research has the potential to advance healthcare management system,” said Lalit K Mestha, Research Fellow, Xerox Research Center Webster and Project Leader. “While many are focusing on wearable technology for health sensing, we are going beyond this by conducting research in non-contact health sensing that has the potential to greatly improve the comfort and quality of healthcare.”

Xerox has developed image and signal processing algorithms that convert patient video captured from off-the-shelf cameras into health indicators such as heart rate. Various algorithms used in the process capture movement when necessary using automatic motion detection algorithms from video images, phase synchronized signal processing for continuous monitoring and signal reconstruction. Current research results indicate the remote health sensing technology can meet medical industry standards and will be easy to use by doctors, therapists and even patients.

Some of the technology is currently being tested in the neonatal unit of Manipal University. One of the key benefits is the ability to automatically analyze and detect respiratory and other medical diagnosis in infants without requiring contact probes attached to their sensitive skin. The goal is to make continuous monitoring contact free, increasing patient comfort without decreasing accuracy of the health parameters being detected.

“We are pleased to report that early results from the remote sensing research are very promising and show accuracy levels that are close to current results captured via probes attached to the patient,” said Dr. Vijay Kumar, a Paediatric Surgeon, who is a Principal Investigator on the project from Manipal University Hospital.

The observation process is absolutely safe and does not harm patients. Light from the cameras penetrates into the skin allowing information to be captured and converted to health indicators. The visible light is captured by these cameras and is not harmful, making it suitable for long observation periods and allowing patients greater mobility.

Researchers are working on additional applications to take this technology to homes to provide distributed emergency care management with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality of patients. “Our partnership with Manipal University Hospital is helping us move the technology closer to reality,” said Dr. Manish Gupta, Vice President, Xerox Corp and Director of Xerox Research Centre in India. “This research can have great implications for the future of healthcare and telemedicine in the country.”

Appreciating the efforts of the research team at Xerox and therapists at Manipal University Hospital he added, “As Xerox conducts research in the area of healthcare, not only are Xerox scientists learning about anatomy and physiology but also gaining knowledge in the medical field by interacting with medical practitioners. We appreciate Manipal University Hospital’s cooperation with us to partner, learn and conduct research with real patients.”