Homebrewing a DIY pulse monitor

A 15-year-old Maker by the name of Angelo has designed a homebrew pulse monitor using an Atmel based Arduino board, a grippy clothes hanger, clear/bright red LED and a light dependent resistor (LDR).

The project — which can be found on Instructables — was inspired by MAKE Magazine’s homemade pulse monitor.

“Movies look cool with those EKG (electrocardiogram), the one that beeps and detects heart activities. A few months ago, we had to shoot a hospital scene for our school project. We needed an EKG instrument,” Angelo explains.

“To keep the movie authentic, we didn’t want to fake the readings so we made the next best thing, a pulse monitor. This project works and can actually monitor your pulse. [However], due to the lack of research and experimentation, the homebrew pulse monitor cannot be used for medical purposes.”

Have a friend or foe who continuously tells fibs? Good news! According to Angelo, the homebrew device can even be used as a rudimentary lie detector.

“When a person lies, you’ll notice a sudden change on the [pulse] graph,” he said.

On the software side, Angelo employs Processing 2 for graphing, along with a specially coded Arduino IDE sketch. Both are required to run the homebrew project.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

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