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This paper appears in: Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2000.

Proceedings of the
22nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE

A system to monitor elderly people remotely, using the power
line network

Date of Conference: 2000
Author(s): Nambu, M. Dept. of Gerontechnol., Nat. Inst. for Longevity Sci., Aichi
Nakajima, K. ; Kawarada, A. ; Tamura, T.
Volume: 1 Page(s): 782 - 785 vol.1
Product Type: Conference Publications


In the developed countries, including Japan, the proportion of elderly people in the
population is very high. In such countries, the lack of a caregiver is a very serious problem, and
many elderly people live in residential or nursing homes, where they are cared for intensively.
However, one has to consider their quality of life. Often, it is recommended that they stay at
home, and in such cases, they may require care at home. Therefore, the authors propose a
remote monitoring system, using the power line network. This system can be located anywhere
in the home, even in older houses, allowing caregivers to monitor elderly people from
anywhere in the world via the Internet. The authors evaluated the power line network system
experimentally. The results showed that the transfer rate depends on the electronic noise in
the power line and on the distance between computers even if it was fixed. The authors
compared this system with a `traditional' Ethernet system. Although more time was needed,
data transfer was completed without problem


In a corporate world people seldom find time to visit their doctors. Similarly, in a
hospital where a doctor has to attend to many patients it becomes quite impossible for the
doctor to monitor a patient continuously. This project provides a simple and inexpensive
solution for such patients. Using this project the patients are continuously monitored using
various sensors and supporting devices and the output is recorded in a PC kept in the doctors
room. The doctor can then analyze the recorded data and if he sees an alarming sign in the
recordings he can immediately reach the patient and take the appropriate action.


The project consists of a transmitter for each of the patients and a single receiver in the
doctors monitoring room. The patient circuit consists of sensor unit consisting of appropriate
sensors, signal processing units and a transmitter. Sensor will sense the parameter and will
send the signal to the instrumentation amplifier for amplification. The amplified output is then
passed through a band pass filter to filter out the unwanted frequencies. The modulator using
the carrier signal generated by the carrier generator then modulates the signal. HF transmitter
with help of the antenna then transmits modulated signal.

On the doctors end the receiving antenna is common for all the transmitted signals. The
received signal is amplified by the pre-amplifier and the amplified signal is then filtered by band
pass filter. The received signal contains information of various patients which has to be
separated. This can be achieved by using narrow band receiver in conjunction with the de-
multiplexer since carrier frequency for each patients transmitter is unique. The de-multiplexed
signal is then amplified using an amplifier, detected using a detector and digitized using an ADC.
Digital data is then fed to the PC via PC interfacing card. The software module written should
store the data for various patients in their respective file so that the doctor can easily go
through them.

Brief Explanation

Power line communications use the pre-existing electricity lines available to the vast
majority of buildings. They can be used for data transmission to the building or just within it. In
the latter case, specific devices plug into electricity sockets and into which computers, printers,
scanners and other devices can in turn be plugged. This allows them to interconnect. The
devices manage the communications between individual computers and their peripherals
without the need for any other equipment or infrastructure.

In our project we are monitoring the different parameters of the patient like
Respiration, Temp, and Saline Bottle. As we know that in the present scenario doctors are
facing lots of problems like to monitor many patients number of doctors are required
sometimes there may be shortage of doctors to monitor the patients, so in order to overcome
this we have designed this project whereby we will be monitoring various parameters as
explained above if anything happens in those parameters and automatically a signal will be sent
to the concern person or the in charge doctor. The doctor can sit at one place and monitor all
the patients at a time. Here in our project we will be using the power line as a channel to
transmit the signals which are existing in all most everywhere, no need to use any extra
separate channel for this, like wireless or separate cables etc..,

Block Diagram:

A brief history of the 8051 family:

In 1981, Intel Corporation introduced an 8-bit microcontroller called the 8051. This
microcontroller had 128 bytes of RAM,4K bytes of on- chip ROM, two timers, one serial port,
and four ports(each 8-bit wide) all on a single chip. At the time it is also referred to as a system
on chip. This is an 8-bit processor, meaning that the CPU can work on only 8 bits of data at a
time. Data larger than 8 bits has to be broken into 8 bit pieces to be processed by the CPU. The
8051 has a total of four I/O ports, each 8-bit wide.
The 8051 became widely popular after Intel allowed other manufactures to make and
market any flavors of the 8051 they please with the condition that they remain code-
compatible with the 8051. This led to many versions of the 8051 with different speeds and
amounts of on-chip ROM marketed by more than half a dozen manufacturers. It is important to
note that although there are different flavors of the 8051 in terms of speed and amount of on-
chip ROM, they are all compatible with the original 8051 as far as the instructions are
concerned. This means that if you write your program for one, it will run on any of them
regardless of the manufacturer.

The sensors used in this project are Heartbeat and Temperature sensor. The
output of temperature sensor is given to the ADC so as to convert the analog value into digital
data and then give it to the microcontroller. The Heartbeat sensor used is basically a LED and
LDR arrangement.


LED and LDR arrangement
The Heartbeat sensor used in this project is basically a LED and LDR arrangement.
The LED used in this arrangement is a high intensity LED.
Heart beat is sensed by using a high intensity type LED and LDR. The finger is
placed between the LED and LDR. As sensor, a photo diode or a photo transistor can be used.
The skin may be illuminated with visible (red) using transmitted or reflected light for detection.
The very small changes in reflectivity or in transmittance caused by the varying blood content of
human tissue are almost invisible. Various noise sources may produce disturbance signals with
amplitudes equal or even higher than the amplitude of the pulse signal. Valid pulse
measurement therefore requires extensive preprocessing of the raw signal.
The setup described here uses a red LED for transmitted light illumination and a
LDR as detector. With only slight changes in the preamplifier circuit the same hardware and
software could be used with other illumination and detection concepts. These values are sent
to the ADC for conversion of analog to digital and then sent to the microcontroller.

LM35 temperature sensor
LM35 converts temperature value into electrical signals. LM35 series sensors are
precision integrated-circuit temperature sensors whose output voltage is linearly proportional
to the Celsius temperature. The LM35 requires no external calibration since it is internally
calibrated. . The LM35 does not require any external calibration or trimming to provide typical
accuracies of 14C at room temperature and 34C over a full 55 to +150C temperature
The LM35s low output impedance, linear output, and precise inherent calibration make
interfacing to readout or control circuitry especially easy. It can be used with single power
supplies, or with plus and minus supplies. As it draws only 60 A from its supply, it has very low
self-heating, less than 0.1C in still air.

Calibrated directly in Celsius (Centigrade)
Linear + 10.0 mV/C scale factor
0.5C accuracy guaranteed (at +25C)
Rated for full 55 to +150C range
Suitable for remote applications
Low cost due to wafer-level trimming
Operates from 4 to 30 volts
Less than 60 A current drain
Low self-heating, 0.08C in still air
Nonlinearity only 14C typical
Low impedance output, 0.1 W for 1 mA load

Liquid crystal display
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. LCD is finding wide spread use replacing LEDs (seven
segment LEDs or other multi segment LEDs) because of the following reasons:
1. The declining prices of LCDs.
2. The ability to display numbers, characters and graphics. This is in contrast to LEDs, which
are limited to numbers and a few characters.
3. Incorporation of a refreshing controller into the LCD, thereby relieving the CPU of the
task of refreshing the LCD. In contrast, the LED must be refreshed by the CPU to keep
displaying the data.
4. Ease of programming for characters and graphics.
LCD screen consists of two lines with 16 characters each. Each character consists of 5x7 dot
matrix. Contrast on display depends on the power supply voltage and whether messages are
displayed in one or two lines. For that reason, variable voltage 0-Vdd is applied on pin marked
as Vee. Trimmer potentiometer is usually used for that purpose. Some versions of displays have
built in backlight (blue or green diodes). When used during operating, a resistor for current
limitation should be used (like with any LE diode).

Analog to digital converter
Analog-to-digital converters are among the most widely used devices for data
acquisition. Digital systems use binary values, but in the physical world everything is continuous
i.e., analog values. Temperature, pressure (wind or liquid), humidity and velocity are the
physical analog quantities. These physical quantities are to be converted into digital values for
further processing. One such device to convert these physical quantities into electrical signals is
sensor. Sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity, light and many other natural quantities
produce an output that is voltage or current.
Thus, an analog-to-digital converter is needed to convert these electrical
signals into digital values so that the microcontroller can read and process them. An ADC has an
n-bit resolution where n can be 8,10,12,16 or even 24 bits. The higher resolution ADC provides
a smaller step size, where step size is the smallest change that can be detected by an ADC. In
addition to resolution, conversion time is another major factor in judging an ADC. Conversion
time is defined as the time it takes the ADC to convert the analog input to a digital number.


Power Line Communication Modem (PLC)

Power line modem is useful to send and receive serial data over existing AC mains
power lines of the building. It has high immunity to electrical noise persistence in the power
line and built in error checking so it never gives out corrupt data. The modem is in form of a
ready to use circuit module, which is capable of providing 9600 baud rate low rate bi-directional
data communication. Due to its small size it can be integrated into and become part of the
users power line data communication system.

Transmit and Receive serial data at 9600 bps
Powered from 5V
Low Cost & Simple to use
Built in Error Checking
Direct interface with microcontroller UART TXD, RXD pins

Blue Box Red Box
Isolated Part, Ok to Touch AC mains section, Shock Hazard, Do not Touch


Applications of PLCC system:

1. Home Automation
2. Automatic Meter Reading
3. Process Control
4. Heating and Ventilation Control
5. Air Conditioning Control
6. Lighting Control
7. Status Monitoring and Control
8. Low Speed Data Communication Networks
9. Intelligent Buildings
10. Signs and Information Displays
11. Fire and Security Alarm System
12. Power Distribution Management

1. Complex and costly harness wires are replaced by a digital communication
2. Power-line communication multiplex network reduces harness weight.
3. Increasing reliability by reducing harness wires.
4. The power-line multiplex network operates over 120/230V power-line.
5. Simple installation.
6. Extendable, easy to add more transceivers to the power-line network after installation.
7. Power-line multiplex network reaches points that other buses cannot.
8. Multiplex power-line communication enable new design concepts in aviation, industrial,
consumer and many other fields.
9. Multiple independent CAN / UART / LIN networks can share the same power-line by
using different carrier frequencies.

Future research

After having tried with several practical X10 experiments, further steps will be explore
other power line systems (like Lonwork or Konnex) to test their potentialities, also conducting a
comparative study on the power consumes of home and building automation systems. Another
key point remains in any case the world of domestic control interfaces for disabled people, so
our efforts will be again concentrated on this topic.


Power line communication is a valid technique that allows the exchange of data by
means of the power line cables that are present in every dwelling and in every building. Even if
there are some problems of noise and possible interferences, modern modulation methods
make PLC systems in general affordable and reliable. Information transmitted through the
power line can be used to share data with high bit rates (generally used for home intranets, for
the last mile problem or for in-home music distribution), or also to control home and building
automation systems, that typically need lower bit rates, up to a few kbps.


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