Simultaneous Monitoring of Multiple People’s Vital Sign Leveraging a Single Phased-MIMO Radar

Zhaoyi Xu, Cong Shi, Tianfang Zhang, Shuping Li, Yichao Yuan, Chung Tse Michael Wu, Yingying Chen, Athina Petropulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Vital sign monitoring plays a critical role in tracking the physiological state of people and enabling various health-related applications (e.g., recommending a change of lifestyle, examining the risk of diseases). Traditional approaches rely on hospitalization or body-attached instruments, which are costly and intrusive. However, in recent years there is an emergence of contact-less vital sign monitoring techniques that rely on radio frequency signals. Early studies with continuous wave radars/WiFi devices have shown good success in detecting the vital signs of a single individual, while simultaneous monitoring of the vital signs of multiple, closely spaced subjects remains a challenge. In this paper, using an off-the-shelf Texas Instrument automotive FMCW radar, we design and implement a time-division multiplexing (TDM) phased-MIMO radar sensing system that allows high-precision vital sign monitoring of multiple subjects. The proposed sensing system can steer the beam towards the desired directions with a micro-second delay. The steerable beam enables capturing the vital signs of multiple individuals at the same radial distance to the radar. The proposed system enables the formation of a virtual array with aperture longer than that of the physical array. A Capon beamformer is used at the receiver side to combine the data collected from different transmit and receive antenna pairs corresponding to the virtual array. As all those pairs provide independent information about the targets, their combination significantly boosts the receiver signal-to-noise ratio. Based on the designed TDM phased-MIMO radar, we develop a system to automatically localize multiple human subjects and estimate their vital signs. Extensive evaluations show that under two-subject scenarios, our system can achieve more than 98.06% accuracy for breathing rate (BR) and more than 82.89% accuracy for heartbeat rate (HR) estimation, at a subject-to-radar distance of when the targets are facing the radar. The minimal subject-to-subject angle separation is at a subject-to-radar distance of corresponding to a close distance of between two subjects, which outperforms the state-of-the-art.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


  • Array signal processing
  • Contact-less vital sign monitoring
  • Estimation
  • Monitoring
  • Phased arrays
  • Radar
  • Receiving antennas
  • Transmitting antennas
  • millimeter wave
  • phased multiple-input multiple-output radar


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