Running up to Mont Royal in the morning and slipping multiple times was part of our inspiration to create this device. More importantly, over half of all seniors above the age of 80 fall annually. This can reduce their confidence and willingness to move and travel on their own.
Coded in Arduino C, Catch Me makes use of the Intel Edison Microcontroller, and uses a script to automatically send a notification to certain contacts when a fall is detected. Once the user has fallen, the device monitors their vital signs to detect whether other complications have occurred, such as shock.
To build this, we took apart the accelerometer that was included as part of the BITalino biosignal processing kit and connected the leads to wires coming out of our Intel Edison microcontroller. We also used LEDs connected to a breadboard as indicators of the functionality of our device.
Originally, we wanted to use the BITalino kit to detect acceleration and heart rate, but the BITalino kept crashing for an unforeseen reason. We suspected that this was due to shorting occurring within the connections so we attempted to re-solder them but our soldering iron started to smoke and stopped functioning. We then tried to use an accelerometer that was intended for the Intel Edison but we were unable to receive the correct readings from it. Finally, we cut the connections from the BITalino accelerometer and connected it to the Intel Edison. Additionally, incorporating the script that automatically sends notifications upon a fall occurring proved to be quite challenging.
We are glad that we were able to connect the accelerometer from the BITalino kit to the Intel Edison. Moreover, all the hardware in our hack works flawlessly for the most part.
We learned that hardware hacks are not for the faint of heart. We also learned a lot about Arduinos, Intel Edisons, and biosignal processors.
The next step would be to conduct studies to see if this product is in demand and is actually viable.