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Physiol Meas. 2009 Apr;30(4):N23-35. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/30/4/N01. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Infrared thermal imaging as a physiological access pathway: a study of the baseline characteristics of facial skin temperatures.

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Bloorview Research Institute, 150 Kilgour Road, Toronto, ON M4G 1R8, Canada.


In this study we examine the baseline characteristics of facial skin temperature, as measured by dynamic infrared thermal imaging, to gauge its potential as a physiological access pathway for non-verbal individuals with severe motor impairments. Frontal facial recordings were obtained from 12 asymptomatic adults in a resting state with a high-end infrared thermal imaging system. From the infrared thermal recordings, mean skin temperature time series were generated for regions of interest encompassing the nasal, periorbital and supraorbital areas. A 90% bandwidth for all regions of interest was found to be in the 1 Hz range. Over 70% of the time series were identified as nonstationary (p<0.05), with the nonstationary mean as the greatest contributing source. Correlation coefficients between regions were significant (p<0.05) and ranged from values of 0.30 (between periorbital and supraorbital regions) to 0.75 (between contralateral supraorbital regions). Using information measures, we concluded that the greatest degree of information existed in the nasal and periorbital regions. Mutual information existed across all regions but was especially prominent between the nasal and periorbital regions. Results from this study provide insight into appropriate analysis methods and potential discriminating features for the application of facial skin temperature as a physiological access pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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