PROJECT DESCRIPTION: In Fall of 2010, as a part of my PhD research I was attempting to capture activities in trauma critical care (in order to analyze deviations from normal behaviors). The tag incorporated an accelerometer for movement tracking, microphone for recording elements of conversation and an infrared (IR) transceiver to capture “pings” or moments of face-to-face communication between clinicians wearing this tag. All data streams were collected simultaneously and stored on a memory card. The tag seen in the image about was the result of progress made from November 2010 – March 2011.
I used the Propeller Parallax microcontroller and Spin programming language to build the tag. While the decision to choosing Propeller was mostly opportunistic, it is one of the few microcontrollers in the market that allows parallel threads of operation (up to 8 simultaneous “cogs”). Most of the miscellaneous parts and sensors were sourced from SparkFun.
After unit testing individual components and conducting integration tests on a breadboard, I proceeded to designing the printed circuit board. Express PCB for prototyping was amazing. The software was easy to use (even for a beginner such as myself) and through the process I gained an appreciation for circuit design. When the PCB board and parts arrived, I built 10 tags and fitted then with modified off-the-shelf casings.
ROLE: Researcher, Designer, Developer
STATUS: On Hold as of April 2011
I chose to shelf the project due to resource constraints. Though I had gained a large amount of knowledge in electronics in 5 months, my skills were far from adequate to take the tag to the next level and make it fit for a real clinical environment (data collection in vivo was essential for my dissertation). In addition as my dissertations focused on the data analysis rather than the data gathering process, I decided to focus instead on developing a models of deviations based on qualitative data obtained in trauma.