Wearable Monitoring System Based on ZigBee
By Karandeep Malhi, Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay, Fellow, IEEE, Julia Schnepper, Mathias Haefke, and Hartmut Ewald
NOTE: This is an overview of the entire article, which appeared in the March 2012 issue of the IEEE Sensors Journal.
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This paper reports on the design and development of a ZigBee smart non-invasive wearable physiological parameters monitoring device. (ZigBee is a specification of a set of communication protocols based on IEEE standard 802.15.4.) The system can be used to monitor physiological parameters, such as temperature and heart rate, of a human subject. It consists of an electronic device which is worn on the wrist and finger (Figure A) by an at-risk person.
Figure A: Prototype Wrist Unit
Using several sensors to measure different vital signs, the person is wirelessly monitored within his own home. An impact sensor has been used to detect falls. The device detects if a person is medically distressed and sends an alarm to a receiver unit that is connected to a computer. This sets off an alarm, allowing help to be provided to the user. The device is battery powered for use outdoors. The device can be easily adapted to monitor athletes and infants. The low cost of the device will help to lower the cost of home monitoring of patients recovering from illness. The authors state that a prototype of the device has been fabricated and extensively tested with very good results.
Much life sciences research is focused at improving the quality of human life in terms of health by designing and fabricating sensors which are either in direct contact with the human body (invasive) or indirectly (noninvasive). One of the reasons for increasing development in this area is the global population and rise in ageing population. The U.S. Department of Health estimates that by 2050 over 20% of the world's population will be above 65 years of age. This results in a requirement for medical care, which is expensive for long-term monitoring and results in long waiting lists for consultations with health professionals. The cost of hospitalization is ever increasing, as is the cost of rehabilitation after a major illness or surgery. Hospitals are looking at sending people back as soon as possible to recoup at home. During this recovery period, several physiological parameters need to be continuously measured. Hence, telemedicine and remote monitoring of patients at home are gaining added importance and urgency.
The article describes the development and testing of the wrist and finger units, and the multi contoller board which uses ZigBee modules to communicate with a receiving computer. The authors discuss future devlopments, including the addition of a blood oxygen sensor, and elimination of the finger sensor.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Karandeep Malhi received the Bachelor of Technology degree in electronics and communication from Punjab Technical University, Punjab, India, in 2005. Then, she pursued the post graduate degree at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, and submitted the Master of Engineering thesis on wireless sensors network based physiological parameters monitoring system in July 2010. Currently, she is working as a Hardware Engineer with a product development and designing company. Her interests include biomedical engineering, micro-electronics and product development management.
Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay (SM'02 - F'11) graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India, in 1987, with a Gold Medal and received a Master of Electrical Engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, in 1989, a Ph.D. (Eng.) from Jadavpur University, India, in 1994, and a Doctor of Engineering degree from Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan, in 2000. Currently, he is working as a professor with the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University. He has published over 240 papers in different international journals and conferences, written a book and a book chapter, and edited nine conference proceedings. He has also edited eight special journal issues, three for the IEEE SENSORS JOURNAL. He has edited nine books, seven of which are with Springer-Verlag. His fields of interest include smart sensors and sensing technology, wireless sensors network, electromagnetics, control, electrical ma- chines, and numerical field calculation, etc. Dr. Mukhopadhyay is a Fellow of IEE (U.K.), an Associate Editor of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENTS. He is Co-editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems.
Julia Schnepper started studying electrical engineering at the Technical University of Dresden, Saxony, Germany, but shifted in 2005 to University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany. There she got her preliminary diploma in 2007. In 2010, she participated in a student exchange program and worked at Massey University, Palmerston, New Zealand, on wireless and mobile health care monitoring systems. Her main interest is the medical engineering where she did some project work on pacemakers and pulse oximetry. Currently, she is working on finishing her diploma thesis to get her degree.
Mathias Haefke received an Intermediate diploma in electrical engineering from the University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany, in 2007. He is currently working on a Diploma degree at the Institute of General Electrical Engineering, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany. In 2010, he participated in a student exchange and worked at Massey University, Palmerston, New Zealand, on wireless networks and mobile health monitoring systems. His interests focus mainly in the area of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, and novel sensors.
Hartmut Ewald graduated as an Electrical Engineer in 1978 and received a Doctorate degree in physics in 1983 and the Habilitated Doctor's degree in 1991 from the University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany. He is a Professor of Technical Electronics and Sensor Techniques in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany, since 2001. From 1992 - 2001, he was a Professor of Measurement and Sensor Techniques at the University of Wismar, Germany. Prof. Ewald received the Marie-Curie-Research Grant (Marie-Curie Fellowship) from the European Union on the University of Limerick, Ireland, in 1998. He is a member of the German Society of Non-Destructive Testing and a member of the Organizing Committee of annual ANNIE Conferences (Artificial Neural Networks In Engineering).