September 19, 2012
Grad student at CU Boulder for astrophysics theory by day, wannabe electrical engineer by night.
News - Enginursday: DIY Biometri…
about a year ago
Great post! You can also get a rough estimate of muscle activity by measuring vibrations (mechanomyography). Using some clever filtering on readings from an accelerometer taped to your body will work, but it’s pretty susceptible to general motion. Works best if you keep still, which kind of defeats the purpose of measuring muscle activity. Still I tried it out once and got decent results.
about 2 years ago
Just got mine, pretty cool! Bunch of olimex dev boards and usb programmers, some PIC microcontrollers, an iphone lcd screen, a bunch of bulky switches, and weirdly enough, the exact pololu mounting hubs I was going to order from them this week. I could post pictures on imgur or something if folks want to see.
News - According to Pete - Spect…
about 2 years ago
Well, I suppose it could be done two ways. The first is to make small flexible breakout boards for the various bio sensors and allow people to wire them together. This might allow for more optimal placement of each individual sensor. But as the boards get smaller, curvature becomes negligible, so it’s not really worth using a flexible board. Unless you’re trying to attach sensors to the tips of your fingers, this size limit is probably around an inch. The second way is more of what I had in mind, have a ~2"x2" flex board with all of the relevant sensors that can be placed just like a gauze pad.
I mention that there may be a strategic location for each sensor, but I’m not sure that really matters for hackers with bio sensors. We’re not trying to compete with the medical industry (yet?), we just want a simple package for getting some kind of reading for these types of sensors. Some of the measurements will have reduced accuracy when placed at random, but most will still give useable results. For instance, pulse oximetry can be done using reflectance instead of transmission, allowing the measurement to be made on places other than just fingers and earlobes.
One of the more difficult aspects of using the kinds of sensors you sell for bio measurements is wiring them together in a way that will withstand the typical environment, but not wrap someone up in wires. Having a single flex board with a handful of sensors and some onboard processing would greatly simplify the task of using these for cool projects.
Seems a common theme showing up is human-worn circuits. I’ve also been playing with this idea, trying to make a sort of Arduino-powered human sensor suite that sticks to any part of your body like a large bandage. The biggest problem I’ve had is attaching a hard circuit board to my body; it can get pretty uncomfortable when you actually try to move around with it. But the basic idea is to have a flexible circuit about the size of an Uno with any number of sensors. A 3-axis accelerometer/gyro can provide not only orientation info for a limb, but possibly things like phonomyography. A downward facing IR emitter/receiver pair can detect heartbeat. Even a pair of bare electrodes could be used to detect skin conductivity. Of course, there’s always room for some blinky LEDs to make the wearer seem just a little more cyborg. This can be used both as an input method for a separate device (robot arm mimics your arm?) and as a simple data logger (stick one on your leg to show off just how intense that double black diamond was).
TLDR; Arduino sensor suite aimed at using humans as input devices. Needs to be flexible because humans are pretty smushy.
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