Medical applications of shortwave FM radar: Remote monitoring of cardiac and respiratory motion


  • 0094-2405/2010/37(3)/1332/7/$30.00



This article introduces the use of low power continuous wave frequency modulated radar for medical applications, specifically for remote monitoring of vital signs in patients.


Gigahertz frequency radar measures the electromagnetic wave signal reflected from the surface of a human body and from tissue boundaries. Time series analysis of the measured signal provides simultaneous information on range, size, and reflective properties of multiple targets in the field of view of the radar. This information is used to extract the respiratory and cardiac rates of the patient in real time.


The results from several preliminary human subject experiments are provided. The heart and respiration rate frequencies extracted from the radar signal match those measured independently for all the experiments, including a case when additional targets are simultaneously resolved in the field of view and a case when only the patient's extremity is visible to the radar antennas.


Micropower continuous wave FM radar is a reliable, robust, inexpensive, and harmless tool for real-time monitoring of the cardiac and respiratory rates. Additionally, it opens a range of new and exciting opportunities in diagnostic and critical care medicine. Differences between the presented approach and other types of radars used for biomedical applications are discussed.