“Pressure sensors front and back plus an accelerometer, you say. Is that really necessary?” Scene from Saving Private Ryan
Unlike the main character in war movies, real life soldiers that survive multiple blasts and are exposed to explosions might not have a happy ending after all. Although the character comes back home safely and the story has a happy ending, in reality, victims often suffer from invisible concussions and traumatic brain injuries. According to a Wall Street Journal article by Laura Landro, Body Sensors Measure of Blasts on Soldiers, troops who are exposed to blasts might experience head trauma though there is no physical injury.
As more soldiers complain of pain after participating in battles or military training, Georgia Institute of Research Institute (GIRI) developed the Integrated Blast Effect Sensor Suite (IBESS) to prevent any potential trauma from blasts as well as to improve subsequent treatment. With multiple sensors, IBESS monitor events of blasts in real time and the data collected is used to measure levels of shock and respective physical damages. The records can be used for later medical cures and preventive measures in case soldiers do not feel any pain at the moment but have a risk of trauma in the future. The GIRI team anticipated that IBESS can be applied to any human monitoring applications besides military purposes by adding more features like blood pressure and oxygen levels.
Pressure sensors on the back and shoulder register blast data. Georgia Tech Research Institute
In wearable health devices like the IBESS, battery lifetime is critical as users cannot be worried with battery charging or frequent battery changes. This is where the EFM32 Gecko microcontroller enables the IBESS to perform continuous data recording and sensor monitoring without the need for user input or service. The EFM32 MCU’s low power features like Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) and Low Energy Sensor Interface (LESENSE) makes it possible for the system to run autonomously without involving the 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 CPU until it is strictly necessary. Higher-end health wearables also need the performance of the Cortex-M processor to efficiently process the large amount of complex data that multi sensor systems create. The result is systems that can be always on and ready for use with running time of several years.
If you want to see more examples of long-lasting wearable devices, read how the EFM32 MCU helps Misfit Shine Wearable Fitness Tracker energy friendly, and watch how the EFM32 enabled the PIEPS Vector GPS avalanche monitor to double its battery lifetime:
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