TFM: Design and implementation of a hospital automation and signaling system

The work has been carried out within the R&D area of ACE Business Group. The project has been started from scratch, being the only development engineer involved.

In hospitals and nursing homes there is a need to use a healthcare system that allows an effective communication between the patient and the nurses, in addition to monitoring possible events that allow immediate actions.

The project proposes the design of a complete solution that allows integrating a low-cost peripherals network in a modular and user-configurable way. The design focuses on a centralized architecture with a gateway capable of automating the behavior of sensors and actuators in its environment, with a wired or wireless connection. In addition to automation, the user receives notifications of each of the events, allowing real-time monitoring of the rooms.

During the project, two electronic systems, a central node, and an assistance push-button mechanism have been designed, with the aim of integrating a generic assistance call system and a scalable communications protocol to a future more complex sensors and actuators network. The development deals with both the hardware and the software necessary for its implementation, as well as a set of tests to validate its operation for future commercialization.

The gateway acts as a hub for nodes within the rooms, with BLE, Wifi, Ethernet, RS485 interfaces and GPIO ports. The design is done in a modular and scalable way over FreeRTOS Operating System.

The push button is designed with 3 different configurations on the same PCB: wired, wireless, or by direct digital I/O. It is oriented to an ultra low consumption design with the ability to last for several years over BLE.