Contactless hand tremor amplitude measurement using smartphones: development and pilot evaluation

by   James Bungay, et al.

Background: Physiological tremor is defined as an involuntary and rhythmic shaking. Tremor of the hand is a key symptom of multiple neurological diseases, and its frequency and amplitude differs according to both disease type and disease progression. In routine clinical practice, tremor frequency and amplitude are assessed by expert rating using a 0 to 4 integer scale. Such ratings are subjective and have poor inter-rater reliability. There is thus a clinical need for a practical and accurate method for objectively assessing hand tremor. Objective: to develop a proof of principle method to measure hand tremor amplitude from smartphone videos. Methods: We created a computer vision pipeline that automatically extracts salient points on the hand and produces a 1-D time series of movement due to tremor, in pixels. Using the smartphones' depth measurement, we convert this measure into real distance units. We assessed the accuracy of the method using 60 videos of simulated tremor of different amplitudes from two healthy adults. Videos were taken at distances of 50, 75 and 100 cm between hand and camera. The participants had skin tone II and VI on the Fitzpatrick scale. We compared our method to a gold-standard measurement from a slide rule. Bland-Altman methods agreement analysis indicated a bias of 0.04 cm and 95 agreement from -1.27 to 1.20 cm. Furthermore, we qualitatively observed that the method was robust to differences in skin tone and limited occlusion, such as a band-aid affixed to the participant's hand. Clinical relevance: We have demonstrated how tremor amplitude can be measured from smartphone videos. In conjunction with tremor frequency, this approach could be used to help diagnose and monitor neurological diseases


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