Non-Contact Comprehensive Breathing Analysis using Thermal Thin Medium
Breawn Schoun (PhD student), Shane Transue (PhD student), Ann C. Halbower (MD Pulmonary Medicine) and Min Choi (CMTC Co-Director)

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Summary:
To visualize a person’s exhaled breath, we have them breathe onto a thin medium while recording the opposite side of the medium with a thermal camera. This allows pulmonologists to view a patient’s exhale, as well as determine the patient’s breathing rate, breathing volume, and whether the patient is breathing through their nose, mouth, or both.

Problem that Inspired Research:
Is there a way to visualize exhaled air without using an expensive CO2 filter on a thermal camera?

Objective / Proposed Solution:
The solution should utilize inexpensive and easily replaceable materials for the medium. The camera shouldn’t be cost prohibitive, and the setup should be minimal so that it can be deployed in clinical environments. 

Greatest Challenge to Overcome:
The choice of material was particularly challenging. We needed to test a variety of materials to find a medium with the appropriate properties. This remains an area of potential improvement. Our current medium material is paper, but something thinner with less heat retention properties would be better.

Benefits of Research:
This research would benefit pulmonologists and their patients by providing visualization of their patients’ exhale behaviors.

Real-World Application(s):
The most direct application is to the medical field, specifically pulmonology.

Innovations to Media and Technology:
This research contributes to media and technology by providing a novel method of gas visualization and information processing.

Cutting-edge Technology Being Used:
We use a thermal camera with a CO2 filter to compare our technique against. It works very well but is very expensive, hence the need for a cheaper alternative.

Transdisciplinary Collaboration:
This research combines medical and computer science disciplines. We collaborate with a pulmonologist at the Anschutz campus named Dr. Ann Halbower. She provides the medical expertise, and we provide data collection and processing.


Publications:

Non-Contact Comprehensive Breathing Analysis using Thermal Thin Medium
IEEE BHI 2018 - IEEE Conference on Biomedical and Health Informatics 2018
Breawn Schoun, Shane Transue, Ann C. Halbower, Min-Hyung Choi 
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