Design, Development and Validation of Fiber Bragg Grating Sensor Based Devices for Detecting Certain Healthcare Parameters
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Several sensor technologies have been developed and experimented over the last few decades to cater various needs of medical diagnostics. Among these, fiber optic sensors, in particular, Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) based sensors have attracted considerable attention due to their inherent advantages such electrical passiveness, immunity to Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI), chemical inertness, etc. The present research work focuses on design, development and validation of FBG sensor based devices for measurement of certain healthcare parameters in the context of foot function/gait cycle, cardiac and breathing activity, nostril dominance, hand grip/wrist angle force function, etc. The experimental work presented here emphasizes on the effectiveness and competitiveness of the FBG devices developed, in comparison with standard tools such as Accelerometer, Load cell, Electronic Stethoscope, Electromyogram and Dynamometer. In the field of human balance, stability and geriatrics, two independent FBG devices namely, Fiber Bragg Grating based Stability Assessment Device (FBGSAD) and Optical Sensor Ground Reaction Force measurement Platform (OSGRFP) have been designed, developed and experimented for postural stability assessment and gait analysis respectively. The result of these studies have significant implications in understanding of the mechanism of plantar strain distribution, identifying issues in gait cycles, detecting foot function discrepancies, identifying individuals who are susceptible to falls and to qualify subjects for balance and stability. In the field of ergonomic assessment, Fiber Braggs Grating based Hand Grip Device (FBGHGD) is designed and developed for the measurement of hand grip force which helps in the understanding of several important biomechanical aspects such as neuromuscular system function, overall upper-limb strength, vertebral fracture, skeletal muscle function, prediction of disability, incapacity, mortality and bone mass density (forearm, skeletal sites, spine, hip etc.). Further as an extension of this work, the FBGHGD is used for measurement of force generated by the wrist in different positions of the flexion and extension which relates to the wrist muscle activity and its enactment. In the field of cardiac activity monitoring, a novel, in-vivo, non-invasive and portable device named Fiber Bragg Grating based Heart Beat Device (FBGHBD) is developed for the simultaneous measurement of respiratory and cardiac activities. The work involves designing FBGHBD, validating its performance against traditional diagnostic systems like electronic stethoscope, exploration of its clinical relevance and the usage of FBGHBD in studies involving normal persons and patients with myocardial infarction. The unique design of FBGHBD provides critical information such as nascent morphology of cardiac and breathing activity, heart rate variability, heart beat rhythm, etc., which can assist in early clinical diagnosis of many conditions associated to heart and lung malfunctioning. Further, the scope of this work extends towards evaluating several signal processing algorithms and demonstrating a suitable signal processing architecture for real-time extraction of heart beat and respiratory rates along with its nascent morphologies for critical health care application. In the area of breath monitoring, a Nostril Pressure and Temperature Device (NPTD) is designed and developed which aims at simultaneous, accurate and real-time measurement of nostril air flow pressure and temperature to aid in clinical diagnosis of nasal dysfunction and associated nose disorders. The results of NPTD can offer certain vital features like breathing pattern, respiratory rate, changes in individual nostril temperature/pressure, nostrils dominance, body core temperature etc., which can assist in early clinical diagnosis of breathing problems associated with heart, brain and lung malfunctioning. Since the research work in this thesis involve experiments engaging human subjects, necessary approvals from the ethical committee is obtained before the experiments and required ethical procedures are followed during all the experimental trials.
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