Body ares networks for human motor assessment

Benocci, Marco (2010) Body ares networks for human motor assessment, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, informatica e delle telecomunicazioni, 22 Ciclo.
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Healthcare, Human Computer Interfaces (HCI), Security and Biometry are the most promising application scenario directly involved in the Body Area Networks (BANs) evolution. Both wearable devices and sensors directly integrated in garments envision a word in which each of us is supervised by an invisible assistant monitoring our health and daily-life activities. New opportunities are enabled because improvements in sensors miniaturization and transmission efficiency of the wireless protocols, that achieved the integration of high computational power aboard independent, energy-autonomous, small form factor devices. Application’s purposes are various: (I) data collection to achieve off-line knowledge discovery; (II) user notification of his/her activities or in case a danger occurs; (III) biofeedback rehabilitation; (IV) remote alarm activation in case the subject need assistance; (V) introduction of a more natural interaction with the surrounding computerized environment; (VI) users identification by physiological or behavioral characteristics. Telemedicine and mHealth [1] are two of the leading concepts directly related to healthcare. The capability to borne unobtrusiveness objects supports users’ autonomy. A new sense of freedom is shown to the user, not only supported by a psychological help but a real safety improvement. Furthermore, medical community aims the introduction of new devices to innovate patient treatments. In particular, the extension of the ambulatory analysis in the real life scenario by proving continuous acquisition. The wide diffusion of emerging wellness portable equipment extended the usability of wearable devices also for fitness and training by monitoring user performance on the working task. The learning of the right execution techniques related to work, sport, music can be supported by an electronic trainer furnishing the adequate aid. HCIs made real the concept of Ubiquitous, Pervasive Computing and Calm Technology introduced in the 1988 by Marc Weiser and John Seeley Brown. They promotes the creation of pervasive environments, enhancing the human experience. Context aware, adaptive and proactive environments serve and help people by becoming sensitive and reactive to their presence, since electronics is ubiquitous and deployed everywhere. In this thesis we pay attention to the integration of all the aspects involved in a BAN development. Starting from the choice of sensors we design the node, configure the radio network, implement real-time data analysis and provide a feedback to the user. We present algorithms to be implemented in wearable assistant for posture and gait analysis and to provide assistance on different walking conditions, preventing falls. Our aim, expressed by the idea to contribute at the development of a non proprietary solutions, driven us to integrate commercial and standard solutions in our devices. We use sensors available on the market and avoided to design specialized sensors in ASIC technologies. We employ standard radio protocol and open source projects when it was achieved. The specific contributions of the PhD research activities are presented and discussed in the following. • We have designed and build several wireless sensor node providing both sensing and actuator capability making the focus on the flexibility, small form factor and low power consumption. The key idea was to develop a simple and general purpose architecture for rapid analysis, prototyping and deployment of BAN solutions. Two different sensing units are integrated: kinematic (3D accelerometer and 3D gyroscopes) and kinetic (foot-floor contact pressure forces). Two kind of feedbacks were implemented: audio and vibrotactile. • Since the system built is a suitable platform for testing and measuring the features and the constraints of a sensor network (radio communication, network protocols, power consumption and autonomy), we made a comparison between Bluetooth and ZigBee performance in terms of throughput and energy efficiency. Test in the field evaluate the usability in the fall detection scenario. • To prove the flexibility of the architecture designed, we have implemented a wearable system for human posture rehabilitation. The application was developed in conjunction with biomedical engineers who provided the audio-algorithms to furnish a biofeedback to the user about his/her stability. • We explored off-line gait analysis of collected data, developing an algorithm to detect foot inclination in the sagittal plane, during walk. • In collaboration with the Wearable Lab – ETH, Zurich, we developed an algorithm to monitor the user during several walking condition where the user carry a load. The remainder of the thesis is organized as follows. Chapter I gives an overview about Body Area Networks (BANs), illustrating the relevant features of this technology and the key challenges still open. It concludes with a short list of the real solutions and prototypes proposed by academic research and manufacturers. The domain of the posture and gait analysis, the methodologies, and the technologies used to provide real-time feedback on detected events, are illustrated in Chapter II. The Chapter III and IV, respectively, shown BANs developed with the purpose to detect fall and monitor the gait taking advantage by two inertial measurement unit and baropodometric insoles. Chapter V reports an audio-biofeedback system to improve balance on the information provided by the use centre of mass. A walking assistant based on the KNN classifier to detect walking alteration on load carriage, is described in Chapter VI.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Benocci, Marco
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Body Area Network (BAN), Inertial Sensors, Sensors Fusion, Classifiers, Posture & Gait Analysis
Data di discussione
6 Maggio 2010

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