Make a Heartbeat Detector With an Op Amp

Make a Heartbeat Detector With an Op Amp

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Scott Harden’s DIY electrocardiogram (ECG) uses a LED shining light through his finger into a photo transistor, with the resulting signal amplified with a LM324 quad op amp.

Makezine_COTM_OpAmp-BadgeThe goal of this project is to generate an extremely cheap, functional ECG machine made from common parts, most of which can be found around your house. This do-it-yourself (DIY) ECG project is different than many others on the internet in that it greatly simplifies the circuitry by eliminating noise reduction components, accomplishing this via software-based data post-processing. Additionally, this writeup is intended for those without any computer, electrical, or biomedical experience, and should be far less convoluted than the suspiciously-cryptic write-ups currently available online. In short, I want to give everybody the power to visualize and analyze their own heartbeat!

In the first YouTube video above, Scott shows how to build the detector. The second one he shows how to plug the detector into a computer sound card.

2 thoughts on “Make a Heartbeat Detector With an Op Amp

  1. Jim Horn says:

    Forgive my nitpickingl but an *Electro*CardioGram uses electrical signals from the body, not light. This is a photoplethysmograph, a variation of which is commonly known as a pulse oxymeter. Popular Electronics published a photoplethysmograph project article around 1970. It worked fine (I built it in high school). Still nifty to see it being updated – great project!

  2. Mario Guzmán Cerdio says:

    Hi, it looks great! can you upload the schematics and list of materials please? greatings!

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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