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Inductive sensing for sleep posture analysis

27 Jun 2014  | John Yeh

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Editor's note: This entry is one of the runners-up in the TI LDC1000 inductive sensor design contest.

By embedding inductive coils under an off-the-shelf mattress pad, one can create a multi-point position and pressure sensing system for sleep-posture analysis. This information can be used to augment the quantified self-fitness trend.

To reduce the total BOM, a pair of analogue muxes per eight inductive coils is used rather than one LDC1000 per coil. Further algorithm refinement should be able to reduce the total number of inductors and increase the spacing between them. An MSP430 Launchpad board interfaces between the LDC1000 evaluation board and the outside world via the serial port. The MSP430 also provides inductor switching, data formatting, and various housekeeping tasks.

Figure 1: Sleep posture recorder design.

During the course of design, many configurations of inductors were tested. One interesting outcome was the miniaturized inductor array that is also pressure and position sensitive. One can see that it can be used in a robotic gripper application. By knowing how hard and where the object is within the gripper, the robot can adjust it's grip for delicate objects.

Figure 2: Multi-point "Grip-Slip" sensor for a robot gripper.

In the future, the elastomer-assisted inductive sensing concept can integrated into the back and seat of an office chair or automotive seat. It can also be embedded in the soles of running shoes for gait analysis. Combining Bluetooth Smart, MSP430, and LDC1000 makes it possible to create a very low power design that can sync to one's phone and provide additional seating posture and walking/running information throughout the day.

Watch the video on this design here.

About the author
John Yehcontributed this article.

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