Toward respiratory assessment using depth measurements from a time-of-flight sensor

Charlie Sharp, Vahid Soleimani, Sion Hannuna, Massimo Camplani, Dima Damen, Jason Viner, Majid Mirmehdi, James W. Dodd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
412 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: There is increasing interest in technologies that may enable remote monitoring of respiratory disease. Traditional methods for assessing respiratory function such as spirometry can be expensive and require specialist training to perform and interpret. Remote, non-contact tracking of chest wall movement has been explored in the past using structured light, accelerometers and impedance pneumography, but these have often been costly and clinical utility remains to be defined. We present data from a 3-Dimensional time-of-flight camera (found in gaming consoles) used to estimate chest volume during routine spirometry maneuvres.

Methods: Patients were recruited from a general respiratory physiology laboratory. Spirometry was performed according to international standards using an unmodified spirometer. A Microsoft Kinect V2 time-of-flight depth sensor was used to reconstruct 3-dimensional models of the subject's thorax to estimate volume-time and flow-time curves following the introduction of a scaling factor to transform measurements to volume estimates. The Bland-Altman method was used to assess agreement of model estimation with simultaneous recordings from the spirometer. Patient characteristics were used to assess predictors of error using regression analysis and to further explore the scaling factors.

Results: The chest volume change estimated by the Kinect camera during spirometry tracked respiratory rate accurately and estimated forced vital capacity (FVC) and vital capacity to within ± < 1%. Forced expiratory volume estimation did not demonstrate acceptable limits of agreement, with 61.9% of readings showing >150 ml difference. Linear regression including age, gender, height, weight, and pack years of smoking explained 37.0% of the variance in the scaling factor for volume estimation. This technique had a positive predictive value of 0.833 to detect obstructive spirometry.

Conclusion: These data illustrate the potential of 3D time-of-flight cameras to remotely monitor respiratory rate. This is not a replacement for conventional spirometry and needs further refinement. Further algorithms are being developed to allow its independence from spirometry. Benefits include simplicity of set-up, no specialist training, and cost. This technique warrants further refinement and validation in larger cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017

Structured keywords

  • Digital Health


  • Home monitoring
  • Respiratory function tests
  • Spirometry


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