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Xerox researchers have designed a new medical technology that uses video cameras and data analytics to monitor a patient’s condition without wires, discomfort or risk of infection.

Using patented software algorithms, Xerox researchers have been able to convert data collected by the cameras into vital signs.

The light emitted from the camera penetrates into the patient’s skin, allowing information to be captured and converted to health indicators.

Because the cameras can scan skin from a distance, the company says that patients can be free from wires, sensors and other devices.

With this contact-free approach, the company aims to help clinicians remotely monitor patients in the home or just generally outside healthcare settings.

Using cameras to track a patient’s condition can minimise discomfort levels and decrease the risk of infection.

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Cameras can open up the possibility of diagnosing patients at their homes, clinics and in locations that may be far from a specialist.

A series of studies are currently being conducted by Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI) and Xerox Research Center Webster (XRCW) in India and New York respectively.

The Xerox Innovation Group arm is currently working with Manipal University Hospital in Manipal, India, and at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York to test the feasibility of using video cameras to develop technologies that continuously monitor the condition of patients.

"Researchers are exploring the use of video cameras and patented software algorithms to convert data collected by camera into vital signs."

Xerox project leader Lalit Mestha said: "Our initial work at Manipal was in the neonatal unit, evaluating the algorithms to monitor infant vital signs with cameras, but that has quickly expanded into other areas."

For the India project, researchers are exploring the use of video cameras and patented software algorithms to convert data collected by camera into vital signs.

At the University of Rochester, Mestha’s team is exploring on a project that uses cameras to detect occurrence of atrial fibrillation, a rapid quickening of the heart that boosts a patient’s risk of stroke.

Research conducted in hospital rooms provides Xerox scientists with a first-hand view of the medical field through interaction with practitioners and patients.

Xerox vice-president and director of XRCI Manish Gupta said the company’s partnership with Manipal University Hospital is helping its move the technology closer to reality.

"This research can have great implications for the future of healthcare and telemedicine in India and across the globe," Gupta said.

Image: Lalit Mestha and Survi Kyal demonstrate a video patient monitoring system. Photo: courtesy of Xerox Corporation.