The aim of this paper is to present and evaluate algorithms for heartbeat interval estimation from multiple spatially distributed force sensors integrated into a bed. Moreover, the benefit of using multichannel systems as opposed to a single sensor is investigated. While it might seem intuitive that multiple channels are superior to a single channel, the main challenge lies in finding suitable methods to actually leverage this potential. To this end, two algorithms for heart rate estimation from multichannel vibration signals are presented and compared against a single-channel sensing solution. The first method operates by analyzing the cepstrum computed from the average spectra of the individual channels, while the second method applies Bayesian fusion to three interval estimators, such as the autocorrelation, which are applied to each channel. This evaluation is based on 28 night-long sleep lab recordings during which an eight-channel polyvinylidene fluoride-based sensor array was used to acquire cardiac vibration signals. The recruited patients suffered from different sleep disorders of varying severity. From the sensor array data, a virtual single-channel signal was also derived for comparison by averaging the channels. The single-channel results achieved a beat-to-beat interval error of 2.2% with a coverage (i.e., percentage of the recording which could be analyzed) of 68.7%. In comparison, the best multichannel results attained a mean error and coverage of 1.0% and 81.0%, respectively. These results present statistically significant improvements of both metrics over the single-channel results ($p <0.05$ ).
- heartbeat intervals
- multichannel fusion