Date of Award

9-2012

Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor

Lily Laiho

Abstract

The following paper describes a fall detection and activity monitoring system with position detection based on Zigbee transceivers.The main objective is to reduce the time taken for emergency personnel to respond to falls among the elderly. Especially when the victim is unconscious or delirious, position tracking reduces location determination time within a busy hospital or nursing home environment and facilitates immediate treatment. Reduced response times correlate to decreased morbidity and mortality rates. Background is provided on the major wireless network advances currently deployed in a healthcare setting for asset and personnel tracking, etiology of falls, and several methods of detecting falls using sensors and image processing techniques. Data analysis proves that a precise coordinate tracking system was infeasible using the XBee RF module (based on the Zigbee protocol) due to environmental noise, a poor antenna construction and lack of precise signal strength measurements. A primitive scheme with lower resolution and higher reliability associating a single location with each Zigbee transceiver was employed. A pedometer function was added to the project to monitor the user’s daily activity and to potentially serve as a predictor of falls through the interpretation of mobility and gait patterns related to step counts.