Computer Program That Could Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Students from Ben Gurion University develop program to prevent SIDS.
Students from Ben Gurion University in Israel have developed Baby Beat, a software that interprets changes in skin tone and measures a baby’s heartbeat. The software will be used to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the sudden death of an infant up to one years old, of which thousands of babies still die every year. The new system could help prevent the phenomenon by the use of a simple web camera.
Tomer Apple and Anva Feinzilber, Electrical and Computer Engineering students at Ben Gurion University, developed the Baby Beat device, which releases the baby’s heartbeat using video photography. In the case of abnormal heartbeat, an alarm sounds that wakes the baby in order to regulate breathing and alert parents.
According to BabyBeat, their device is a simple-to-use and inexpensive system: Parents need only activate the camera, and the baby feels no discomfort.
“Heart pulse affects the skin tone,” Apple told Israeli news website Ynet. “This is such a minor change that it is not visible to the human eye, but it is still there. We have developed algorithms to interpret the discoloration recorded by the camera and translate them into pulses. It is widely assumed that baby’s pulses slow down before SIDS, and this system will help prevent this.”
The system may be helpful for a variety of other purposes, such as measuring of babies’ pulse in day care. The system enables the pulse measurement of several babies at once through one device. Another future use, according to Baby Beat, is online medicine: Doctors could be made aware of babies’ heart rates online and therefore be able to provide a faster response.
The BabyBeat prototype was made as a final project for the graduate students and was displayed for the first time at the project conference of the department. The tudents are expected to conduct trials with the participation of babies in the next few months months and if the system will provide the level accuracy it has displayed until today, arrangements will begin for its production and marketing.
This article was translated from Hebrew from Ynet.