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I want to measure heart rate as part of a controlled experiment I am setting up. I've been trying to find information on which heart rate monitor to buy, but it's unclear to me which heart rate monitors allow exporting data to PC, and how open the data is. Can I only analyse the data through the software provided by the vendor, or is it common practice to be able to export it as e.g. CSV?

  • Are there any 'common' heartrate sensors used in the community?
  • Should I look for monitors which support a certain protocol/format?
  • Are there any vendors which I should avoid, e.g. when they have closed file formats?
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  • $\begingroup$ I just got this one recommended: zephyranywhere.com/products $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Jul 4 '13 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ Looking back at this question I asked 6 years ago, things have changed quite a bit and there are several alternatives. Making this answer potentially more useful would be to introduce the difference between heart rate and ECG. There are many commercially available devices which (to the best of my knowledge) allow exporting heart rate. ECG is still fairly uncommon but also becoming more available. Rather than an answer focusing on an individual technology, it would make sense to focus on the decisions which go into deciding on one particular device. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Mar 25 at 15:23
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I recently completed a study involving physical ergonomics of rifles. We monitored heart rate and respiration using the Zephyr BioHarness. It seemed to work pretty well.

It also monitors movement of the user, if that is of interest to you.

To get data out, it is possible to compile a report and export it to CSV, which works well if you need to do analysis on the data using other programs.

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A few years ago we had very good luck using OEM pulse oximetry equipment from Nonin. Their OEM products are typically intended for other manufacturers to use in their own products. The downside is that it might take a little bit of work to configure the device at first, but the upside is that the products are eminently hackable and provide lots of information. We had a Python script that would read the heart rate data from an Xpod alongside a set of external triggers from our stimulus presentation software and then save it as a CSV file at the end of each run. Very slick!

Nonin Xpod Page: http://www.nonin.com/OEMSolutions/Xpod

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