Telemedicine supported by Augmented Reality: An interactive guide for untrained people in performing an ECG test

Paolo Bifulco, Fabio Narducci, Raffaele Vertucci, Pasquale Ambruosi, Mario Cesarelli, Maria Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In many telemedicine applications, the correct use of medical device at the point of need is essential to provide an appropriate service. Some applications may require untrained people to interact with medical devices and patients: care delivery in transportation, military actions, home care and telemedicine training. Methods: An Augmented Reality application was built to support untrained users in performing an ECG test. Simple markers attached to the ECG device and onto patient's thorax allow camera calibration. Once objects and their pose in the space are recognized, the video of the current scene is enriched, in real-time, with additional pointers, text boxes and audio that help the untrained operator to perform the appropriate sequence of operations. All the buttons, switches, ports of the ECG device together with the location of precordial leads were coded and indicated. Some user's voice commands were also included to improve usability. Results: Ten untrained volunteers, supported by the augmented reality, were able to carry out a complete ECG test first on a mannequin and then on a real patient in a reasonable time (about 8 minutes on average). Average positioning errors of precordial electrodes resulted less than 3 mm for the mannequin and less than 7 mm for the real patient. These preliminary findings suggest the effectiveness of the developed application and the validity of clinical ECG recordings. Conclusion: This application can be adapted to support the use of other medical equipment as well as other telemedicine tasks and it could be performed with a Tablet or a Smartphone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2014


  • Augmented Reality
  • ECG device operation
  • Electrode placement
  • Untrained user

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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