I am curently working on developing an application to measure breath airflow and heart rate. Can one recommend any vendors that specialize in measuring these variables and are LabVIEW friendly?
I know that Grass Technologies and many others sell thermistor-based airflow sensors for airflow - usually used to detect flow (not calibrated) for sleep studies. These thermistor type sensors detect the hot air exhaled (either through nose, mouth, or both) and cooler air inhaled so you get a sinusoidal kind of waveform that you can use for respiration rate. I'm pretty sure that Grass also makes an interface box that outputs a higher level signal that is easy to digitize/record with a DAQ board, etc. See: http://www.grasstechnologies.com/products/transducers/transducers.html
If you need calibrated flow, that's a different problem and you need a pneumotachograph which measures the pressure drop across a known resistance to airflow - I don't have a ready source for those, just google and let us know what you find.
For heart rate, it depends on what your after. Do you need just the rate or the ECG waveform? Is it OK to put electrodes on the subject? Is this for animals or humans? Long-term or short-term? You can get heart rate easily from inexpensive clip-on sensors used for oximetry (oxygen saturation), but you don't get the ECG waveform.
This is probably very late but I have recently joined and may be helpful!
THere are a number of techniques and corresponding sensors that can be used to measure heart rate and breath airflow. These depend mainly on your limitations of cost, accessability, level of detail from signal and so on. You can make some cheap sensoes yourself (like I did) using off the shelf IR led, photodiode and thermistor or use expensive kits. IF you are not through yet, give us some detail and we can suggest you accordingly.
This is also late but for a low cost NI friendly application I would use the Vernier sensors (These are for educational purpose hardware).
Spirometer : http://www.vernier.com/probes/spr-bta.html
Hand Grip Heart Rate: http://www.vernier.com/probes/hgh-bta.html
OR EKG with HR done in software : http://www.vernier.com/probes/ekg-bta.html
You can connect these to our family of data acquisition cards (need to power it with 5 Volts).
They have special connetors: http://www.vernier.com/probes/probes.html?bta-elv&template=standard.html
And also sell a DAQ board with connectors (based on NI 600x family).
If you need "clinical grade" sensors, let me know and I can point you to other alteranatives.
I have similar requirement but it is for "clinical grade". Please point me to clinical grade sensor which I have use to calculate airway pressure, tidal volume, respiratory rate and flow rate.