Samsung wants to track your breathing rate via your Wi-Fi router

Samsung is exploring unconventional ways to measure our respiratory rates
Wareable Breathing rate router
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Samsung is working on technology that uses the Wi-Fi router in your home to measure the number of breaths you take per minute.

Measuring your heart rate and breathing rate is relatively commonplace these days. Your fitness tracker or smartwatch is laden with optical heart rate, accelerometers, and pulse oximetry sensors that can accurately measure your heart rate and breathing.

But Samsung has patented two new methods for measuring breathing rates – one uses Wi-Fi and the other uses microphones combined with motion.

They sit within a recently filed patent entitled “Multi-Antenna Wi-Fi Breathing Rate Estimation”. 

The tech described within could be used to detect the breathing rates of multiple people in the room, for health purposes, or even to detect intruders for home security.

The filing is heavy on the technical language, but essentially deploys a Wi-Fi router and monitors the path to connected devices to create what amounts to an alternative radar system in the home.

From here, fluctuations in the path of the radio waves would pick up the breathing rate of people inside the room. At the same time, the algorithms described navigate a way through channel state information and other potential interferences inherent within Wi-Fi routers to ensure readings are accurate.

Diagrams accompanying the filing show a person lying on the floor, breathing in and out and radio waves deviating as they encounter the person.

So, if you’re doing a yoga class in your living room for instance the tech would pick up your breathing rate.

The image below “illustrates an example wireless communication system performing breathing rate estimation to determine a breathing rate vital sign of a subject in an environment.”


Samsung says there’s been an increased interest in wireless breathing rate monitoring, but radar systems are too expensive for the home setting. It also says wearables are intrusive, uncomfortable, and expensive for some. 

If that doesn’t seem realistic, a second patent filed in May last year and granted just before the end of the year improves on it further.

The patent, entitled Passive Breathing Rate Determination, involves using microphones within common consumer devices like smartphones or head-mounted displays to keep tabs on breathing rates.

The capture of this data, coupled with motion data from wearable devices, could also help to identify medical conditions and health-threatening abnormalities.

Samsung describes how the motion data and the audio data could be captured simultaneously. Or, in some cases, enable audio to pick up the slack when an activity like running distorts the motion data. The result is, in theory, a more accurate reflection of the breathing rate.

The patent reads: “A pair of earbuds may have a motion sensor (e.g., an accelerometer and/or gyroscope) and an audio sensor (e.g., a microphone) to capture, respectively, head movements related to breathing (e.g., certain vertical head movements that occur when breathing) and breathing sounds generated by the nose and mouth. 

“However, the subtle head motion indicative of breathing can easily be downed out in sensor data when other motion is present.”

The tech in the patent compensates for the inherent shortcomings in either data point to offer a more accurate picture of the breathing rate.

It may take multiple devices on or around the user’s person, such as a smartphone or a fitness tracker, but the result would be more accurate breathing rate data that can be captured by motion or audio recordings alone.

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Chris Smith


Chris has more than decade of experience writing for the UK's foremost technology publications including TechRadar, T3 and more.

 A freelance journalist based near Miami, Florida, Chris has written for Wareable since its inception in 2014. From reviews of the latest fitness devices, and in-depth features on bleeding-edge wearable devices, to future-gazing interviews with some of the industry's brightest minds, Chris covers the lot. He also writes about sport for The Guardian and is the author of many technology guide books, while also dabbling in film, music, beer, travel and political commentary.

When he's isn't smashing away at the keys of his MacBook, Chris can be found at his favourite craft breweries, dangling his rod in the warm waters of the Florida Keys, or exploring the Shropshire countryside.

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