Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) technology is a new, useful and safe technology in the field of wireless body networks. This paper focuses on the feasibility of estimating vital signs --- specifically breathing rate and heartbeat frequency --- from the spectrum of recorded waveforms, using an impulse-radio (IR) UWB radar. To this end, an analytical model is developed to perform and interpret the spectral analysis. Both the harmonics and the intermodulation between respiration and heart signals are addressed. Simulations have been performed to demonstrate how they affect the detection of vital signs and also to analyze the influence of the pulse waveform. A filter to cancel out breathing harmonics is also proposed to improve heart rate detection. The results of the experiments are presented under different scenarios which demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed technique for determining respiration and heartbeat rates. It has been shown that an IR-UWB radar can meet the requirements of typical biomedical applications such as non-invasive heart and respiration rate monitoring.
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