Development of a fingertip blood pressure sensor
According to the WHO, “an estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware that they have the condition.”(1) The blood pressure is a challenging parameter to measure outside the doctor’s office as it requires a relatively bulky set-up with multiple expensive components, thus reducing the mobility and useability of the device. To address these two key challenges in dealing with hypertension the IIS lab is exploring a novel sensor concept, promising to be simple to use and carry around whilst also being cheap to produce. Taking advantage of the human anatomy of a finger, the sensor utilises a mechanical actuator with a piezoresistive sensor to determine the blood pressure in the artery of a fingertip. With the in-house developed VivoSoC platform, the analogue precision sensing as well as digital signal processing are combined in a single package, allowing for a compact design. Thus eliminating the need for a bulky arm-sleeve and pressure pump of conventional designs. For further description, please relate to the following similar publication where the finger-pressing method is utilised for a smartphone based health monitor (2). Based on the application requirements, the design can be expanded with a GSM module utilising NB-IoT, allowing for data upload to a cloud service and integrating the platform into a sensor network for remote medical monitoring.
The current prototype provides a solid foundation for further exploration towards a field applicable device with many different opportunities to explore. We are looking for motivated students to contribute to the below listed topics. Please note, that the scope of the thesis does not need to cover all of the mentioned topics but rather may be tailored to the student’s or group’s interest. We are open for discussion.
We are looking for 1-2 motivated Bachelor/Semester/Masters Thesis students
- Software/data analysis/signal processing, based of existing sensor data, developing a data model for sensor calibration and blood pressure estimation. Evaluation of static performance. [Matlab/ Python]
- Software/firmware, translating the created data model into embedded C code and developing a real-world application. (Dynamic/ field performance evaluation, NB-IoT Data Transmission, Patient User Interface) [C code]
- Software/web-app, developing a MQTT based service for visualisation of sensor data. [Python, etc.]
- Mechanical designing and optimisation of a low profile piezo-resistive actuator and evaluation of its performance. [CAD design, lab measurements]
- (Possible, if previous experience) PCB design, miniaturisation of the applications under strict form factor and power constraints (pocket size portable) [Altium PCB]
- (1) https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension
- (2) Smartphone-based blood pressure monitoring via the oscillometric finger-pressing method; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29515001/
- Interest in embedded systems and uControllers
- Successfully completed a PCB if a PCB design is part of the Thesis
- 20% Concept
- 40% Embedded software design
- 40% Experiments/Measurements