Sensing Platforms for Prototyping and Experimenting Wearable Continuous Health Monitoring Systems: A Quick Starter Point Guide

Sensing Platforms for Prototyping and Experimenting Wearable Continuous Health Monitoring Systems: A Quick Starter Point Guide

Amine Boulemtafes (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information, Algeria) and Nadjib Badache (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information, Algeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1090-2.ch013


Continuous monitoring generally imposes a set of constraints including form factor, energy consumption, and mobility support in order to enable anywhere and anytime monitoring. Sensors, within this context, play an important role as the first building block of such systems and the main entry point for the monitoring process. Therefore, to experiment continuous health-monitoring systems in real-like conditions, sensing platforms need to meet a number of related requirements and constraints, especially for mobility factor. This chapter aims to present an overview of popular sensing platforms meeting appropriate constraints, allowing experimenters and researchers to start prototyping and experimentation projects for continuous health monitoring. For that, a number of requirements and constraints for continuous monitoring prototyping are firstly identified, then sensing platforms are classified into three proposed and compared categories, namely, ready-to-use, ready-to-compose kits, and do-it-yourself platforms. On that basis, a set of interesting platforms are reviewed and compared under each category.
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Continuous Monitoring And Prototyping Constraints’ Requirements

Ensuring continuous health monitoring implies inevitably dealing with a set of related constraints, particularly, keeping connectivity and coping with its intermittence, which is considered as one of the main concerns regarding mobile users (Boulemtafes et al., 2015). However, from sensing devices point of view, a number of criteria should be also taken into consideration in order to enable continuous and convenient monitoring. Two major constraints are: (1) The probability of relying on devices’ batteries for long periods. In fact, recharging devices might be disturbing, or even impossible if there’s no access to a power supply, like in case of mobility; and (2) Relying on wearables, which need not to disturb the monitored user and his daily activities (Maciuca, Popescu, Strutu, & Stamatescu, 2013; Boulemtafes & Badache, 2016).

Consequently, sensing platforms should ideally follow a number of recommendations in order to cope with continuous monitoring (Boulemtafes et al., 2015; Boulemtafes & Badache, 2016), principally:

  • Sensing platforms should be as much as possible lightweight and unobtrusive in order to minimize disruption of the user and his daily activities.

  • Sensing platforms should communicate through wireless networks in order to offer freedom of movement.

  • Sensing platforms should be energy-efficient in terms of operation and processing, as well as in terms of communication. This aims to keep continuous monitoring as long as possible, like by using low energy short range communication standards, especially when adopting a mobile base station between sensing platforms and the remote side.

However, in a prototyping configuration and for experimentation purposes, some of these requirements could be somehow overridden in some cases such as for the unobtrusiveness constraint.

Besides, since prototyping implies customization and development of actions and scenarios, platforms should moreover allow open access to sensing parameters, operations and collected data.


Sensing Platforms

Various sensing devices and platforms for health monitoring are available. They are made either to be used directly with predefined sensors, or to allow adding custom ones. Some platforms allow even composing personalized wearables. Besides, a set of components from boards to sensors are available in order to mount customized platforms.

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