Stress is a major health concern that not only compromises our quality of life, but also affects our physical health and well-being. Despite its importance, our ability to objectively detect and quantify it in a real-time, non-invasive manner is very limited. This capability would have a wide variety of medical, military, and security applications. We have developed a pipeline of image and signal processing algorithms to make such a system practical, which includes remote cardiac pulse detection based on visible spectrum videos and physiological stress detection based on the variability in the remotely detected cardiac signals. First, to determine a reliable cardiac pulse, principal component analysis (PCA) was applied for noise reduction and independent component analysis (ICA) was applied for source selection. To determine accurate cardiac timing for heart rate variability (HRV) analysis, a blind source separation method based least squares (LS) estimate was used to determine signal peaks that were closely related to R-peaks of the electrocardiogram (ECG) signal. A new metric, differential pulse transit time (dPTT), defined as the difference in arrival time of the remotely acquired cardiac signal at two separate distal locations, was derived. It was demonstrated that the remotely acquired metrics, HRV and dPTT, have potential for remote stress detection. The developed algorithms were tested against human subject data collected under two physiological conditions using the modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and the Affective Stress Response Test (ASRT). This research provides evidence that the variability in remotely-acquired blood wave (BW) signals can be used for stress (high and mild) detection, and as a guide for further development of a real-time remote stress detection system based on remote HRV and dPTT.