PPGSynth: An innovative toolbox for synthesizing regular and irregular photoplethysmography waveforms

Qunfeng Tang, Zhencheng Chen, John Allen, Aymen Alian, Carlo Menin, Rabab Ward, Mohamed Elgendi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)
    40 Downloads (Pure)


    Photoplethysmography (PPG) is increasingly used in digital health, exceptionally in smartwatches. The PPG signal contains valuable information about heart activity, and there is lots of research interest in its means and analysis for cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, to our knowledge, there is no arrhythmic PPG dataset publicly available—this paper attempt to provide a toolbox that can generate synthesized arrhythmic PPG signals. The model of a single PPG pulse in this toolbox utilizes two combined Gaussian functions. This toolbox supports synthesizing PPG waveform with regular heartbeats and three irregular heartbeats: compensation, interpolation, and reset. The user can generate a large amount of PPG data with a certain irregularity, with different sampling frequency, time length, and a range of noise types (Gaussian noise and multi-frequency noise) can be added to the synthesized PPG which can all be modified from the interface, and different types of arrhythmic PPGs (as calculated by the model) generated. The generation for large PPG datasets that simulate PPG collected from real humans could be used for testing the robustness of developed algorithms that are targeting arrhythmic PPG signals. Our PPG synthesis tool is publicly available.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number597774
    Number of pages7
    JournalFrontiers in Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


    NSERC grant RGPIN-2014-04462 and Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. RW was supported by NPRP grant # NPRP12S-0305-190231 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation).


    • PPG construction
    • big data
    • biosignal generation
    • data generation
    • data modeling
    • digital health
    • generative model
    • signal simulation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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