Brian McCarthy, Tyndall National Institute
“The Tyndall Health Monitoring Unit”
The aim of this work is to develop both the hardware and software systems for a Health Monitoring system that will wirelessly monitor the required parameters which will enable health care practitioners to observe the activities and physiological response to patient activity. The target market for this system is for use in Ambient Assisted Living for elderly clients who require the system to be wearable (flexible), unobtrusive (highly miniaturised), have long life (reliable and low power consumption). It is also important that the system be implemented in a wireless fashion so it can provide the utmost comfort for the client and assure them and their families of their safety.
The Health Monitoring Unit to be presented comprises an Electrocardiograph for monitoring Heart Rate, a Pulse Oximeter to monitor the oxygenation of haemoglobin and an accelerometer for eliminating motion artefacts which are prominent in both the ECG and Pulse Oximeter. These are especially important when these functions are implemented as part of a wearable system. The accelerometer can also be used to monitor falls and to determine the general orientation of the patient. A temperature sensor has also been included to reduce artefacts that occur due to changes in temperature. All of this data is transmitted to a remote base station through Zigbee communications for further data processing. Basic processing is available onboard 25mm mote at the base station and if need be, an FPGA layer can be added to the receiver to implement high end signal processing. It is also possible for the base station to actuate an emergency response when appropriate. This Health Monitoring device has been developed on Tyndall’s 25mm prototyping mote1. However, the final application of this unit will be implemented on either a 10mm platform or else on flexible PCB, both of which can be used as part of a wearable system.