Video-based Sympathetic Arousal Assessment via Peripheral Blood Flow Estimation

Biomedical Optics Express 2023
Bjoern Braun, Daniel McDuff, Tadas Baltrusaitis, and Christian Holz

Abstract

Electrodermal activity (EDA) is considered a standard marker of sympathetic activity. However, traditional EDA measurement requires electrodes in steady contact with the skin. Can sympathetic arousal be measured using only an optical sensor, such as an RGB camera? This paper presents a novel approach to infer sympathetic arousal by measuring the peripheral blood flow on the face or hand optically. We contribute a self-recorded dataset of 21 participants, comprising synchronized videos of participants’ faces and palms and gold-standard EDA and photoplethysmography (PPG) signals. Our results show that we can measure peripheral sympathetic responses that closely correlate with the ground truth EDA. We obtain median correlations of 0.57 to 0.63 between our inferred signals and the ground truth EDA using only videos of the participants’ palms or foreheads or PPG signals from the foreheads or fingers. We also show that sympathetic arousal is best inferred from the forehead, finger, or palm.

Reference

Bjoern Braun, Daniel McDuff, Tadas Baltrusaitis, and Christian Holz. Video-based Sympathetic Arousal Assessment via Peripheral Blood Flow Estimation. In Biomedical Optics Express 2023.