mmRH: Noncontact vital sign detection with an FMCW mm-wave radar

Luyao Liu, Jie Zhang, Ying Qu, Sen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Vital signs, such as respiration rate (RR) and heart rate (HR), are essential for human health status assessment. The radar could detect RR and HR in a noncontact manner by sensing the repetitive chest wall movement caused by cardiopulmonary activity, which is attractive due to the more comfortable experience and better privacy protection. However, as the chest wall displacement caused by heartbeat is much smaller than that caused by respiration, the weak heartbeat component may be easily overwhelmed by respiration harmonics, noise, and clutter, making it difficult to achieve accurate and reliable HR detection. In order to tackle this challenge, in this article, we design mmRH, a system that can accurately estimate RR as well as HR using a frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) millimeter-wave (mm-wave) radar, which consists of four functional modules. In the vital sign signal extraction module, the range bin corresponding to the body part with strong vital signs is determined to extract the vital sign signal, eliminating the clutter interference. The differential enhancement module is proposed to enhance the heartbeat component by the first-order temporal difference, reducing the impacts of respiration harmonics and noise on HR estimation. In the signal decomposition module, the respiration and heartbeat signals are separated via wavelet packet decomposition (WPD) to further suppress respiration harmonics and high-frequency noise of the heartbeat signal. In the vital sign rate reconstruction module, the sparse spectrum reconstruction (SSR) of vital sign rates is mapped to an adaptive filter and zero attracting sign exponentially forgetting least mean square (ZA-SEFLMS) algorithm is proposed to achieve high-resolution sparse spectrum for accurate and reliable RR and HR estimation. The effects of different settings, including the distance between the human subject and the radar, the sensor position, and the user heterogeneity, are investigated by extensive experiments. The results indicate that the designed mmRH could effectively suppress the respiration harmonics, noise, and clutter interference, and bring a significant improvement in RR and HR detection accuracy compared with existing methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8856 - 8866
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number8
Early online date03 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


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