Edge computing in 5G cellular networks for real-time analysis of electrocardiography recorded with wearable textile sensors
Fifth-generation (5G) cellular networks promise higher data rates, lower latency, and large numbers of interconnected devices. Thereby, 5G will provide important steps towards unlocking the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). In this work, we propose a lightweight IoT platform for continuous vital sign analysis. Electrocardiography (ECG) is acquired via textile sensors and continuously sent from a smartphone to an edge device using cellular networks. The edge device applies a state-of-the art deep learning model for providing a binary end-to-end classification if a myocardial infarction is at hand. Using this infrastructure, experiments with four volunteers were conducted. We compare 3rd, 4th-, and 5th-generation cellular networks (release 15) with respect to transmission latency, data corruption, and duration of machine learning inference. The best performance is achieved using 5G showing an average transmission latency of 110ms and data corruption in 0.07% of ECG samples. Deep learning inference took approximately 170ms. In conclusion, 5G cellular networks in combination with edge devices are a suitable infrastructure for continuous vital sign analysis using deep learning models. Future 5G releases will introduce multi-access edge computing (MEC) as a paradigm for bringing edge devices nearer to mobile clients. This will decrease transmission latency and eventually enable automatic emergency alerting in near real-time.