Non-contract Estimation of Respiration and Heartbeat Rate using Ultra-Wideband Signals


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The use of ultra-wideband (UWB) signals holds great promise for remote monitoring of vital-signs which has applications in the medical, for first responder and in security. Previous research has shown the feasibility of a UWB-based radar system for respiratory and heartbeat rate estimation. Some simulation and real experimental results are presented to demonstrate the capability of the respiration rate detection. However, past analysis are mostly based upon the assumption of an ideal experiment environment. The accuracy of the estimation and interference factors of this technology has not been investigated.

This thesis establishes an analytical framework for the FFT-based signal processing algorithms to detect periodic bio-signals from a single target. Based on both simulation and experimental data, three basic challenges are identified: (1) Small body movement during the measurement interval results in slow variations in the consecutive received waveforms which mask the signals of interest. (2) The relatively strong respiratory signal with its harmonics greatly impact the detection of heartbeat rate. (3) The non-stationary nature of bio-signals creates challenges for spectral analysis. Having identified these problems, adaptive signal processing techniques have been developed which effectively mitigate these problems. Specifically, an ellipse-fitting algorithm is adopted to track and compensate the aperiodic large-scale body motion, and a wavelet-based filter is applied for attenuating the interference caused by respiratory harmonics to accurately estimate the heartbeat frequency. Additionally, the spectrum estimation of non-stationary signals is examined using a different transform method. Results from simulation and experiments show that substantial improvement is obtained by the use of these techniques.

Further, this thesis examines the possibility of multi-target detection based on the same measurement setup. Array processing techniques with subspace-based algorithms are applied to estimate multiple respiration rates from different targets. The combination of array processing and single- target detection techniques are developed to extract the heartbeat rates. The performance is examined via simulation and experimental results and the limitation of the current measurement setup is discussed.



Wireless, continuous wavelet transform, elliptical fitting, Welch periodogram, MUSIC, array processing, Ultra-wideband, vital-signs estimation