TagBreathe: Monitor Breathing with Commodity RFID Systems

Yanwen Wang, Yuanqing Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Breath monitoring helps assess the general personal health and gives clues to chronic diseases. Yet, current breath monitoring technologies are inconvenient and intrusive. For instance, typical breath monitoring devices need to attach nasal probes or chest bands to users. Wireless sensing technologies have been applied to monitor breathing using radio waves without physical contact. Those wireless sensing technologies however require customized radios which are not readily available. More importantly, due to interference, such technologies do not work well with multiple users. When multiple users are present, the detection accuracy of existing systems decreases dramatically. In this paper, we propose to monitor users' breathing using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) RFID systems. In our system, passive lightweight RFID tags are attached to users' clothes and backscatter radio waves, and commodity RFID readers report low level data (e.g., phase values). We reliably detect the effective human respiration corresponded signal and track periodic body movement due to inhaling and exhaling by analyzing the low level data reported by commodity readers. To enhance the measurement robustness, we synthesize data streams from an array of multiple tags to improve the monitoring accuracy. Our design follows the standard EPC protocol which arbitrates collisions in the presence of multiple tags. We implement a prototype for the breath monitoring system with commodity RFID systems. The experiment results show that the prototype system can simultaneously monitor breathing with high accuracy even with the presence of multiple users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8651399
Pages (from-to)969-981
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Breath monitoring
  • RFID
  • Signal phase and backscatter signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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