The idea of being able to remotely detect a persons heart rate and potentially have additional information about their agitation/physical exertion from any video sounded fascinating. We knew about some research that had been done on it and decided Hack Cambridge was the perfect place to try and implement it ourselves.
What it does
The app right now is a prototype that can recognise a face (or several faces!) in a video, detect the heart-rate as it changes over time and give the user a graphical representation of the fluctuation as well as the estimated current heart rate of the person.
How we built it
Combining the information from research, open source libraries, and some magic, we got the video analysis working and built a simple web interface to go along with it. The app has not only been tested on videos of politicians and TV presenters, but also on clips of our teammates doing squats at the hackathon which allowed us to compare our results with the data from smartwatches and check the reliability of the analysis.
What's next for Watch Them Sweat
Ideally it would have a real-time interface, allowing users to provide a link for any video they wanted to test. We hope it would enable people to gain an insight into political debates and see beyond the poker-faces of the speakers. It also has a lot of other potential applications - imagine having it integrated with baby monitors, or used for unintrusive patient monitoring, especially in the cases where contact monitoring might be inconvenient or even dangerous. On the side of the "fun stuff", it could be used in gaming - see how your teammates are doing or integrate it into the game as an extra challenge to stay calm.