Weekly Recap - e-Health HacksJuly 31, 2015

Here we have some projects and application related to Arduino and health. Obviously, most of what you can find in this area is not going to be a certified medical product, but it can be very helpful to research or to try out body monitoring.

Measuring Heart Rate with a Piezo Vibration Sensor

Heartbeat Sensor

If you're thinking about developing a medical application this is one of the basics. Thomas was trying to make a water flow detector by measuring the vibration created by water in the pipe and ended up with a very simple yet effective pulse sensor.

He wondered what would happen if he tapped the sensor to his finger, and surprisingly it was a pretty solid electrical signal of his heart rate.

The sensor is a standard piezo. This kind of sensors respond to strain changes by generating an output voltage, so all he had to do was connect it to an analog pin of the Arduino board.

After that he defined a threshold value to measure every heartbeat, and to monitor the heart rate he measured the time between two consecutive beats to make the calculation. After that the value is printed on the serial monitor.

Check the Pulse and Oxygen in Blood Sensor from the e-Health Platform.

Read the complete project and see the code here. Via Hackaday.

Posture Sensor with Ultrasonic Module

We all spend a lot of time sitting on a chair in front of a computer, so Max thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of device that would monitor our posture and warn us to avoid back pain.

He considered using an accelerometer to measure the angle at a certain point or several pressure sensor in the chair, but he needed something relatively simple and cheap. So he finally decided to use a common ultrasonic sensor to measure the distance of the head to the back of the chair.

Posture Sensor

These are easy to use modules that are precise enough for this application. He used Arduino to program an ATtiny85 that reads the info from the sensor, and depending on the distance it beeps a small piezospeaker to warn you. The device is powered by 3 button cells and mounted on a piece of fabric to hide it on the chair.

See the Patient Position Sensor for the e-Health Platform, that allows the user to monitor up to five different patient positions.

Detailed description of the application here. Via Hackaday.

Breathalyzer with MQ-3 sensor and Arduino

Here's another useful application with some basic components, Daniel made a Breathalyzer that helps you to detect breath alcohol content. The idea is quite simple: read the alcohol content and make a visual indication with some LEDs.

An Arduino mounted on a breadboard reads the data from a MQ-3 sensor. This sensor provides an analog resistive output, it needs a 10K potentiometer to calibrate and then it is connected to an analog pin in the Arduino.


The board transforms this alcohol content data and depending on its value lights up the LEDs to make a bar graph indicating the alcohol concentration. Each LED is connected to a digital pin of the board and to ground through a resistor.

Check this interesting application including the e-Health Platform: the e-Wheelchair.

See the e-Health Sensor Platform Tutorial to find examples and applications of how to read and visualize up to ten different parameters.

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