The objectives of this paper are to propose a method that can accurately estimate the human heart rate (HR) using an ultrawideband (UWB) radar system, and to determine the performance of the proposed method through measurements. The proposed method uses the feature points of a radar signal to estimate the HR efficiently and accurately. Fourier- and periodicity-based methods are inappropriate for estimation of instantaneous HRs in real time because heartbeat waveforms are highly variable, even within the beat-to-beat interval. We define six radar waveform features that enable correlation processing to be performed quickly and accurately. In addition, we propose a feature topology signal that is generated from a feature sequence without using amplitude information. This feature topology signal is used to find unreliable feature points, and thus, to suppress inaccurate HR estimates. Measurements were taken using UWB radar, while simultaneously performing electrocardiography measurements in an experiment that was conducted on nine participants. The proposed method achieved an average root-mean-square error in the interbeat interval of 7.17 ms for the nine participants. The results demonstrate the effectiveness and accuracy of the proposed method. The significance of this study for biomedical research is that the proposed method will be useful in the realization of a remote vital signs monitoring system that enables accurate estimation of HR variability, which has been used in various clinical settings for the treatment of conditions such as diabetes and arterial hypertension.
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