Heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) are two vital parameters of the body medically used for diagnosing short/long term illness. Out-of-the-body, non-contact HR/RR measurement remains a challenge due to imprecise readings. “Invisible” wearables integrated into day-to-day garments has the potential to produce precise readings with comfortable user experience. Sleep studies and patient monitoring benefit from “Invisibles” due to longer wearability without significant discomfort. This paper suggests a novel method to reduce the footprint of sleep monitoring devices. We use a single silver-coated nylon fabric band integrated into a substrate of standard cotton/nylon garment as a resistive elastomer sensor to measure air and blood volume change across the chest. We introduce a novel event-based architecture to process data at the edge device and describe two algorithms to calculate real-time HR/RR on ARM Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4F microcontrollers. RR estimations show a sensitivity of 99.03% and a precision of 99.03% for identifying individual respiratory peaks. The two algorithms used for HR calculation show a mean absolute error of 0.81±0.97 and 0.86±0.61 beats/minute compared to a gold standard ECG-based HR. The event-based algorithm converts the respiratory/pulse waveform into instantaneous events, therefore, reducing the data size by 40-140 times and requires 33% less power to process and transfer data. Further, we show that events hold enough information to reconstruct the original waveform, retaining pulse, and respiratory activity. We suggest fabric sensors and event-based algorithms would drastically reduce the device footprint and increase the performance for HR/RR estimations during sleep studies providing better user experience.
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