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Post from Brink: Biometric Interface | Interface

Brink: Biometric Interface | Interface | Projects | High Altitude Mountaineering Guide | Portfolio

  • The Sensors

    High altitude mountaineers push their bodies to the limits of what is humanly possible, often placing themselves on the brink of death. However, when hikers suffer from hypoxia, known as altitude sickness, they often fail to recognize the symptoms. This is due to the fact that one of the main side effects of hypoxia is severe confusion and a lack of mental clarity. By simply recognizing whether or not they have hypoxia, a hiker may be able to save his or her own life.

    Our product gives hikers this crucial information by using altitude, temperature, pulse, and blood oxygen content sensors. These sensors create a cohesive image of whether or not the hiker should continue hiking as normal, take a break, or descend from the mountain. The controller and other main electronics are housed inside an armband. On this armband is a simple and easy to read display which notifies hikers if they should continue hiking or not. The sensors are situated in a glove at the hiker's fingertips to collect accurate data. The first of two temperature sensors is placed at the hiker's finger to detect hypothermia. The second temperature sensor is placed in the armband, and paired with the pressure sensor it is able to measure altitude. Finally, we use pulse and oxygen saturation sensors to measure the users pulse and blood oxygen content. By calculating the drop in blood oxygen saturation as the hiker ascends the mountain, hypoxia can be detected. The pulse sensor provides another benchmark of the hiker's vitals. 

    The device checks for several conditions, and in the program assigns all the sensors a value of 0, 1, or 2. If the value is 0 it indicates that the hiker is not suffering from this condition. If the value is 1 it indicates that they should take a break, and a value of 2 indicates that they should descend. The program selects the highest alert value from all the sensors and uses this to detect the user's health.

    Final Product

    Our final product is a glove and armpiece combination that incorporates the aforementioned sensors. They have been tightly packed into a wrist strap and with very slim finger sensors as to add a minimal amount of bulk to the hiker's already very bulky equipment.The collective purpose of these sensors is to alert the hiker of any health threats he or she may face. The device notifies the wearer by means of the three LEDs that are placed in the top of the casing on the arm. If the green light is on, the wearer is ok to continue climbing. If the yellow light in the middle is on, the climber should stop before continuing on further. If the red light is on, the climber could be approaching a dangerous situation, and should descend from the mountain.

    The device does this by constantly checking the readouts from all four sensors. If the sensors detect that any of the readouts are out of the preset baseline readings, then they will notify the device, which could cause the device to change its alert setting.

    The sensors are attached to the inside of the glove via velcro attachments. They then wire directly into the armpiece, where the readouts are calculated, and the overall response is displayed in the LEDs.