Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wireless Crib Monitor Keeps Tabs On Baby's Breathing

Date:
December 5, 2008
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
Radar -- the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes -- is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing.

Changzhi Li, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida, adjusts a prototype baby monitor in an engineering laboratory on Nov. 24, 2008. The crib-mounted part of the monitor (left) keeps tabs on the baby’s chest movements, sending an alarm to a portable unit (right) if the baby stops breathing. A team of University of Florida engineering students designed the monitor based on Doppler radar technology pioneered by Jenshan Lin, a UF professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Credit: Bob Bird/University of Florida

Radar — the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes — is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing.

Related Articles


In a high-tech twist on the remote devices that allow parents to listen to or watch their baby from afar, University of Florida engineering researchers have built a prototype baby monitor that focuses on a baby’s breathing. If his or her chest stops moving, the crib-mounted monitor detects the problem and sends an alarm to a portable unit kept by the parents.

“It’s a step beyond just watching the baby through a video link or hearing it cry,” said Jenshan Lin, a UF professor of electrical and computer engineering and the principal investigator of the Doppler radar technology used in the monitor.

A paper on the system, which works by using Doppler radar to remotely scan the in-and-out movement of the baby’s chest due to respiration, will appear in the February issue of IEEE Microwave Magazine.

Parents buy millions of baby monitors each year in the U.S., but most transmit only sounds or video images of the baby — both useful, but only if a parent is listening or watching. Some recently available monitors also monitor babies’ movements and breathing, but Lin said he is not aware of any on the market that use wireless technology.

UF engineering students Changzhi Li, Julie Cummings, Jeffrey Lam, Eric Graves and Stephanie Jimenez designed the monitor.

The students did the work as part of the College of Engineering’s Integrated Product and Process Design Program, which allows senior-level undergraduates to participate in yearlong design projects of new products or processes. The student team’s goal: to use Lin’s radar technology, first developed three years ago and under continuous refinement since, in a useful product with the potential to be licensed to a company.

The students produced a small-book-sized device that attaches to the crib just like a standard monitor. They also designed a remote station with red, blue, green and yellow lights, variously indicating the status of the baby’s vital signs, the battery life of the station and confirming the station’s wireless connection to the crib monitor. The station emits a loud alarm and flashes a red light when the monitor detects that the baby’s breathing activity has fallen below a preset threshold, or that he or she has stopped breathing.

Future versions could also detect heartbeat, using a higher frequency signal, Lin said.

“It’s the same Doppler radar that police use to catch speeders, but in our case, we don’t measure constant speed, but rather back-and-forth motion — sort of like vibration,” Lin said. “That’s the fundamental principle of this technology.”

The crib monitor’s signals are very low power and not harmful to the baby or parents, Lin added. While a standard cell phone emits about one watt of power, the Doppler radar emits just one ten-thousandth of a watt of power, he said.

Tom Weller, associate dean for research at the University of South Florida College of Engineering, said the baby monitor is a good example of how research and education can come together in a useful product.

“This miniaturized monitor is an example of solid microwave engineering coupled with great innovation, and something with the potential for a very broad societal impact,” Weller said in an e-mail. “It is especially noteworthy that Dr. Lin transferred his research output into the very capable hands of creative undergraduate students.”

Lin is also pursuing other applications for his technology. His best-realized idea so far: a search-and-rescue robot equipped with the Doppler system to determine the presence of living people in structures damaged by earthquakes or explosions. Lin said the system, so far tested in a small working prototype robot, could complement robotic video systems because it requires less power to operate and has greater range. The robot was developed by student Gabriel Reyes as his research project in the University Scholars Program.

“Or the military could use it to find enemy soldiers,” Lin said, noting that the Doppler radar easily penetrates walls or other structural components.

Lin has also reduced the size of the electronics in his system so that they fit on a fruit fly-sized microchip, potentially enabling the remote monitor to be used in cell phones. That could turn the phones into portable life-sign detectors useful, for example, for friends and family who wish to keep tabs on elderly relatives living alone, he said.

Li, who based his dissertation on the research, was awarded a graduate fellowship from the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society for his work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Wireless Crib Monitor Keeps Tabs On Baby's Breathing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202170826.htm>.
University of Florida. (2008, December 5). Wireless Crib Monitor Keeps Tabs On Baby's Breathing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202170826.htm
University of Florida. "Wireless Crib Monitor Keeps Tabs On Baby's Breathing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202170826.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2015) What&apos;s the proper technique for shoveling snow? A physical therapist offers specific tips for protecting your back while you dig out this winter. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins