Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Start-up gets order for optical blood sensor

Staff writer, with CNA

A man’s heart rate and blood pressure are analyzed by FaceHeart’s image-sensing system at a news conference in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

A university start-up that developed image-sensing technology to measure a person’s blood pressure and heartbeat by looking at their face has started to find commercial success.

FaceHeart, a start-up established by a research team headed by National Chiao Tung University professor Wu Bing-fei (吳炳飛), on Monday said that it has received an order for the technology from Taiwan-based Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank.

The bank aims to improve its VIP service and shore up its security with FaceHeart’s technology, which documents physiological data such as blood pressure, heart rate and even emotions simply by detecting the flow change of facial blood, Wu said.

The technology would give the bank insight into a customer’s emotions, executive vice president Alex Lin (林志宏) said, adding that if somebody applying for a new account shows abnormal signs, readings from the device could suggest illegal activities, such as an attempt to open a dummy account.

IC designer MediaTek said that it has become one of FaceHeart’s investors and would produce a chip for the device.

The order and investment have pushed FaceHeart’s value to an estimated NT$500 million (US$15.9 million), Wu said.

Unlike traditional cardiovascular monitors that require physical contact, FaceHeart’s device uses a camera to observe facial information, Wu said, adding that the face measured does not have to be fixed in front of the camera, because the device can function from multiple angles.

The device can detect, process and present a user’s physiological information in six seconds, and can even function normally in a dark environment, said Wu, who specializes in facial recognition and processing.

Although Wu did not offer data on the device’s accuracy in measuring blood pressure, he said it can detect heartbeats with a margin of error of two to three beats per minute, in line with the medical standard certified by the US Food and Drug Administration.

As the device “knows your heart by looking at your face,” it has massive potential and a wide range of applications, Wu said, quoting university president Chang Mau-chung (張懋中).

The Ministry of Science and Technology’s Taiwan Startup Institute, which funded Wu’s team, said that the device could also be used to improve safety on the road.

The device could be used as a health management system, monitoring the status and behavior of drivers to identify whether they should be on the road, Wu said in a video released by the institute in December last year.

If there are abnormal signs such as pain, fatigue or indicators of drunk driving, the system could warn the drivers in real time or alert the relevant authorities, Wu said.

This story has been viewed 1862 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top