Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a new kind of software that's able to amplify subtle variations between frames of a video so that you can actually see a person's pulse. By changing the frequencies of the software, it's possible to view things such as the way the skin on your face changes color due to blood flow, or the pulsing of your wrist. The software shows both the original and amplified versions side-by-side, making it easy to pick out the differences.
"We started from amplifying color, and we noticed that we'd get this nice effect, that motion is also amplified," researcher Michael Rubinstein explains. He envisions it being used for "contactless monitoring" of patients, particularly infants where "their bodies are so fragile, you want to attach as few sensors as possible." The software could also be built-in to baby monitors so that you can view a child's breathing while they're asleep. There are a number of potential uses, but unfortunately there's no word yet on when the technology might make its way into the real world.