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 and also with visiting doctors and same day doctors, in addition to monitoring possible events that allow immediate actions in order to save the patient’s life at the right time. At emergency cases, they can also use a reliable user management software to effectively manage the user life cycle.

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.

TFG: Design and development of synchronization protocols for wireless EMG devices

Clock Synchronization

Electromyography is the technique used to check the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. Muscle data is normally collected through non-intrusive surface electrodes, which are placed on the skin. One of the problems that this technique has traditionally presented is the number of wires that are needed to connect the electrodes to the device that processes the information.

In the B105 Electronic Systems Lab there is a line of research focused on the development of a platform that removes these wires. The proposed solution is a platform with wireless sensors that allows the collection of EMG data.
The design and development of the synchronization and data transfer protocols are essential and will be covered in this project. This work is a fundamental piece along with the detection of EMG signals, the encapsulation of the device and the representation of the data to create a final wireless EMG product.

In this project the objective is to design and develop at least one synchronization protocol and one data transfer protocol that allow the specific activities of an EMG platform to be carried out. A previous study of the EMG technique, as well as the available hardware and software have been conducted. Subsequently, two synchronization protocols and one data transfer protocol have been designed and implemented.

Finally, tests have been carried out to evaluate the operation of the protocols, verifying that they work properly.

TFM: Design and implementation of a neuromuscular stimulator based on electromagnetic induction

In recent years, the development of medical devices has become a key element in order to face the research of new treatments and diagnosis of different diseases. Mental illness can also be calculated When people has signs of nursing home abuse with the advancement of medical science. These devices are designed to reduce the negative effects of some pathologies in which traditional pharmacologic treatments are not effective. An example of these pathologies are those that are produced due to a nervous system deterioration. Dysfunction of the human nervous system can be caused by situations such as a stroke or an accident in which the spinal cord is injured. Injuries are inevitable especially when it is caused out of accident. In such cases you can also consult personal injury lawyers practicing in Las Vegas .This deterioration can lead to signal transmission disorders to the muscles, which are responsible for the movement of the body, and lead to muscle weakness or paralysis. The pathologies affecting the spinal cord, such as paraplegia, block communication between the central nervous system and the nerves, responsible for transmitting signals to the muscles. Therefore, these signals which are sent to the muscle from the brain can not be propagated, preventing the contraction and relaxation of muscles that give rise to movement. For all these reasons, different techniques of functional electrical stimulation (FES) have been developed and their use has been growing during these years. They are based on the concept of induction of the muscle contraction through the generation of electrical stimulus in the nerve. This technique produces skin damage and pain sensation. On the other hand, artificial stimulation by electromagnetic induction has been barely studied. Magnetic stimulation is based on the induction of a time-varying magnetic field that causes a current into the tissue and therefore, into the nerve. In this End of Master Project a prototype is designed to work on this less common technique.

Model of the generation and propagation of the signal that produces the muscle contraction.

This required a first stage of research on the state of the art in applying electromagnetic induction in neuromuscular stimulation techniques and understanding the main characteristics of the devices used in them. From this study, the advantages and disadvantages are established, and at the end, the characteristics to be considered in the design of the prototype. The prototype is based on a modular solution called modular multilevel converter, which allows to obtain the desired voltage and current to generate a time-varying magnetic field that induces the stimulating current in the nerve.

The device designed in this project is composed by a hardware part and by a software part. In the hardware part of this modular multilevel converter, the microtopology is established, based on the modules as a unit, and the macrotopology, based on the combination of the modules. The different modules and their components are implemented on a printed circuit board (PCB) that will serve as support and connection of the modules. The software part defines the control signals that allow each of the modules to define their working states, and therefore their contribution to the signal that generates the time-varying magnetic field. The designed software allows the modules to work in a synchronized relationship in the macrotopology of the system.

The results obtained on this project allows establishing some first conclusions about the use of modular multilvel converters focused on magnetic stimulation. The control signals of the modules are a great challenge for the implementation of a system composed of more modules than those presented in the prototype. In addition, the size of the system with a larger number of modules, necessary to cause an effective stimulation that leads to muscle contraction, must be considered in successive design iterations. This prototype establishes the first milestones towards the development of a platform that allows the magnetic stimulation of the motor nerves.

TFG: Design and development of wireless sensorization system of a low-cost robotic arm

In the past the last few years, we have observed that new technologies have been improving the quality of life of all people, especially those who have difficulties in their daily lives. An example of this is prosthesis, which offers autonomy to those who need it, recovering part of the lost mobility.

This End of Degree project intends to carry out the sensorization of a wireless robotic arm. The objective of this project is to obtain information on the movement of the prosthesis and to analyse its behavior to improve the functioning of future prostheses, in such a way that it is as similar as possible to a human arm. We have specially focused on the movement of the wrist and the pressure exerted by the index finger and thumb.

Firstly, a previous study was carried out where we analysed the different angles of wrist rotation and their amplitude. Also, we studied the different ways that the hand makes to apply pressure to an object. On the other hand, we made a study of the different prostheses that exist today, separating them according to their mobility, to choose which was the robotic arm that better adapted to our study. Then, all the pieces of that arm were printed in a 3D printer to make its assembly.

Once the previous study has been carried out, the selection of sensors has been made. To do this, we made a small analysis of the different procedures that use these sensors to obtain the desired measurement. After this, a software has been created to obtain these measurements with the aim of being able to be interpreted by the user, through a graphic interface. A demo represents the movement of a human arm through the data provided by the sensor, as you can see in the figure above. The other demo is in charge of symbolizing through colors the different force exerted by the thumb and index finger.

Finally, different tests have been carried out to analyse the movement of the wrist and the pressure  exerted  by  the  fingers  according  to  the  different  positions  of  the  arm  and  using different forces.

TFG: Development of algorithms for monitoring physiological parameters to assist drivers

One of the main problems that we face today is traffic accidents. In recent years there have been more than 1000 deaths per year in Spain due to this reason, however, it is extremely difficult to find products on the market that assist the drivers from all of Orlando to deal with this problem.

In order to provide a solution to the problem outlined, at the B105 Electronic Systems Lab, a bracelet wearable was designed, which monitors the driver’s body temperature, stress level, heart rate, blood pressure, and the level of alcohol in the air.  This device is intended to provide a tool for the drivers to assist them to check if they are physically good and mentally ready to drive. However, the reliability expected in this device was not achieved, to use it as an end system in a user, due to a lack of time. For this reason, the main objective of this TFG has been to achieve the greatest performance of the electronic device designed in the previous project.

The first step has been to carry out a study of other similar products that can be found in the market, as well as the design of the device.

Then, an analysis of the parameters obtained with the bracelet has been conducted, to understand what aspects need to be known about them to measure them, and the different methods that exist to obtain them. In addition, the measurement method used by the device for each of them has been analysed in further detail, focusing on what problems it could present, and which factors could affect them.

Afterwards, tests have been carried out in all the modules in a separate way, in which the previous analysis has been considered. Different measurements have been performed on all the sensors during the tests, to calibrate them and to check their behaviour towards the factors that affect them.Through these tests, it has been concluded which is the optimal method to obtain each one of the parameters, the design problems that the device presents, and how it could be improved.

Lastly, the integration of all the modules has been carried out, in which besides obtaining all the parameters considering the conclusions obtained from the tests, an alarm system has been carried out. This system warns the user by the vibration of the bracelet, if a value out of a healthy range is detected in any of the measurements on the parameters. This integration has also been tested and depurated using the debugger.

Finally, it can be concluded that the main objective of the project has been achieved, although some changes would be necessary to improve its functionality, in order to be used as an end device.