Research project moves from prototype to support for coronavirus care
A heart monitoring solution developed in a Rochester Institute of Technology engineering lab is helping to provide individuals with early signs of COVID-19 symptoms during the 2020 crisis.
VPG Medical, a local start-up company with ties to RIT and the University of Rochester Medical Center, developed the heart monitoring solution, a home-based wellness tracker called the HealthKam. The company recently offered it for free to Monroe Country residents during the COVID-19 outbreak. The app runs on Android devices and uses the embedded front camera to track the device user’s heart rate while they use the device as they normally would, thereby providing continuous monitoring without requiring the user to take-action or buy a device in order to be monitored. While many factors can impact heart rate, it also goes up as fever, one of several symptoms of the coronavirus, increases.
The app, while not meant to be a diagnostic tool, can provide the user with valuable information on heart rate, and it was one of the main ideas behind the research as it was being performed at RIT. Gill Tsouri, a professor of electrical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering had been working on the technology since 2012, most recently with his doctoral students—Celal Savur, Ruslan Dautov and Kamil Bukum—and its path to the pandemic would be an example of how ideas and collaborations can become commercial products that can help the public.