Work Package 3:Body area sensing and communications
Lead Academic: Dr Rob Piechocki (University of Bristol)
With Dr Geoff Hilton (University of Bristol), Professor William Harwin (University of Reading), Professor R Simon Sherratt (University of Reading)


The WP3 Vision is to develop robust, energy efficient and user acceptable wireless communication system and devices. The system will consist of on-body sensor network and in-house network of access points. The wearable devices will be small and use energy harvesting components as the main source of energy. The system will provide real time information regarding physical activity and localisation.


Wearable development
The first SPHERE wearable sensor is materialised. SPW-1 (Figure 1) is an inertial sensor board optimised for in-house long-term activity monitoring. Ultra-low power consumption has been realised by using two accelerometers, which provide energy-efficient gyroscope functionality, and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) system-on-chip for wireless communications.

Measurements and experiments conducted in the SPHERE house (Figure 3) and in the University of Bristol’s laboratory facilities (Figure 2) have demonstrated a life expectancy of up to 10 months, when powered by a coin cell battery, while maintaining full-house wireless coverage.

Current research focuses on the areas of integrating energy harvesting functionalities (in collaboration with WP4); optimising the wireless performance through advanced coding techniques and intelligent antenna design (in collaboration with Toshiba); and providing indoors localisation services. In conjunction with all the other sensors within the SPHERE architecture, SPW-1 provides data for healthcare monitoring in the SPHERE house and other health-oriented services.