FrailSafe partner Smartex has completed the development and production of the "Wearable WBAN - Wireless Body Area Network - System" (WWBS) designed to measure individuals’ medical parameters. The system is composed of a sensorised garment, an electronic device and a software tool for visualisation of streaming of data or downloading the recorded data from the electronic device to a PC (and then uploaded to a cloud service).
The sensorised garment is a shirt with short sleeves: it has two fabric electrodes for electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring and a fabric piezorestistive sensor for respiration monitoring on the chest, and two small boxes on the sleeves where a 9-Degrees of Freedom (DoF) IMU sensor is placed (in each). On the chest there is also a pocket for the electronic device with a third, integrated 9-DoF IMU. All sensors are connected via cables to the device.
The electronic device collects data from the sensors placed in the shirt. A microprocessor elaborates several parameters and all (raw and processed) data are saved on a micro-SD card. When needed, those data (or part of them) can be transmitted via BluetoothTM to a computer or an Android device for real time data analysis.
The following parameters will be monitored with the sensor placed on the WWBS:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- RR Standard Deviation (SDNN)
- Heart rate
- Respiration signal
- Activity classification
- RR (distance in milliseconds between 2 QRS complexes)
- Respiration rate
- Step counter
This garment has been developed to collect many different types of information while reducing discomfort to a minimum. To make this shirt easily don and doff by people with potential limited mobility, a frontal zip has been introduced, following the recommendations from interviews at the different pilot sites in Greece, Cyprus and France by clinical partners. Another important aspect to improve comfort is the use of natural material, i.e. cotton, to make the shirt breathable and cool, taking into account that two out of three monitoring sites are very hot in the summer (Greece and Cyprus).
The need to use these garments on people with different sizes and the need for the fabric sensors to be placed in tight connection with the user's thorax, has required the introduction of a Velcro strap on the back side of the shirt. In this way the nurse can fix the strap with sensors and adapt the vest to the end-user's thorax circumference at the moment of system delivery, and then the user can doff and don again the garment using the zip maintaining the adherence to his/her body.
To help end-users use FrailSafe WWBS easily and properly, two parallel approaches have been adopted:
- Maximum simplification of the user interaction with the garment and the electronic device (and no use at all of the software tool);
- Presentation of daily routines in an extremely short user manual: a one-page document, provided to end-user as a plastic coated fiche, so that it can be taken at home without any risk of being damaged, spotted or wetted.
To be used and accepted by Clinical Ethical Committees, it has been certified as a safe device, respecting Standard Regulations with regards to electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility.