Mobile Health (Brain)

Presentation

Max Ingersoll

Our vision was to create a low-cost, portable product that would unobtrusively measure and record the tremor of people with Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor. This product would also be able to send the data about the tremor to the patient and doctor.

This product would be useful because, doctors currently have no way to monitor their patients tremors throughout the day, which means the only way that they can get information about their tremor, is by asking the patient or the patient’s family members. This is not a reliable means of acquiring data about the patient’s condition.

It is helpful for doctors to know how their patient’s tremor is changing throughout the day for a number of reasons; 1) it helps doctors understand exactly how the medication that they prescribed to their patient is working. 2) It also is helpful for the makers of the medications because it tells them important information about the performance of their drug. 3) It also gives doctors long term data about their patient’s tremor so they can see if it is improving or deteriorating .

This product has ring with an accelerometer attached to it, which the patient wears all day. The accelerometer measures the tremor throughout the day and send the data to an Arduino which the patient is wearing on their wrist. The Arduino then either stores the data, or sends the data to a computer or smartphone, where it is displayed and recorded.

Final

Max Ingersoll

Brothers, Max (14 years old) and Sam (17 years old) Ingersoll, realized they could use the frequency of Parkinson’s tremors to generate brain stimulation for patients to reduce the severity of their tremors. They developed this concept into a prototype while participating in a two-week “Mobile Health”-themed design studio at NuVu Studio, an innovation studio for middle and high school students in Cambridge, MA. The studio was led by Dr. Nir Grossman, a postdoctoral scholar in MIT’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group. Subsequently, working with their advisors, the brothers developed the concept into the “Tremor Suppressor,” a platform for Tremor Research and for mobile/connected health.

The Tremor Suppressor is a device that will help Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor Disease patients mitigate their tremor symptoms. It measures the patient’s tremor and processes the data, generating a frequency, amplitude and phase for the tremor. It then synthesizes a signal which is used to stimulate the brain. The hardware of the device is integrated into a 3D printed package which a patient can wear on their wrist.

In addition to the device itself, Sam and Max created an application that will allow doctors to control the duration and type of stimulation the patient will receive, as well as how long. This application, in its later iterations, will allow for accurate, advanced, and in-depth experiment planning and data analysis.

This upcoming summer, Max and Sam will continue to work with Dr. Nir Grossman and Dr. Michael Fox at Beth Israel Hospital on clinical trials of the device.

Final

Charlotte Francis

Pulse Player is a pulse oximeter and an Android-based App that allows the user to hear their own heartrate which is condusive to relaxation. The benefit of listening to one's heartbeat is greatly examined in Eastern medicine; it is often a method in tai chi, and is known to have soothing and somnolent benefits. We used this theory as the basis for our product.

The Pulse Player App is connected via bluetooth to an Arduino microcontroller. The Arduino microcontroller connects to a pulse sensor located on a finger band that captures the user's heartbeat. This is done through an LED located on the pulse sensor that when pressed against one's finger or ear lobe calculates the BPM by recieving either a 0 or a 1; 1 is a pulseation and 0 is no pulseation. The Arduino reads these numbers and sends them to the Pulse Player App which plays the heartbeat sound whenever a 1 is recieved. Lastly, we placed the Arduino and battery inside a toy bear, so it would not appear threatening and would be pleasant for young kids to use.

App Inventor Coding

Charlotte Francis

Coding might appear to be some sort of daunting witchcraft, but MIT App Inventor makes it easy and accessible. App Inventor provides blocks, unlike arduino coding where it is liteterally just text. For MIT App Inventor,  one merely goes to the side bar and clicks on the bubble/block that one needs. The apps that one creates on App Inventor, have individual scan codes, that an android device can capture, then miraculsoly transform into the app you created. 

The app I created works so that when one hits "get" on the home screen of the app, one recieves one's pulse. This is done however through connecting the device, on which the app in running, to a bluetooth chip on the coded arduino. One has to connect the android device and the app to the chip; the app connects to the chip by merely pressing the button connect and then one has to select the propper blue tooth chip. One has to go into the settings of the device in order to connect it to the bluetooth chip, but that is fairly easy. 

The whole enchilada is merely a series of transfers. The pulse sensor(attached to the arduino) sends signals to the arduino, based off of when the led is blocked by a pulse; a pulse is marked by a 1, based off of digital data transformations. The when the led senses no pulse the digital data is marked as 0. The arduino, is set at a reading frequency to where it recieves the data and gets the most "best fit" reading. The bluetooth, which is attached to the arduino, sends the information to the app, which is set at the highest reading frequency it can handle. The beats the app recieves are paired with the playing of a heart beat. So when the app recieves a 1, a heart beat sound is played. 

The app we created has buttons for: connecting to bluetooth, get information(digital data), play(just to hear the heartbeat track that can be paired with one's own heartbeat), and stop(to stop the heartbeat track.) Each of these buttons is in a group on  app inventor, because like I said, everything is a chain reaction. For example; if one hits stop, play turns off.  

In addition to the buttons in the actual code, there is an aia file already created for connecting android devices to bluetooth chips which I was able to upload and tweek to fit our app's specific needs. 

We tried having the app graph the heartbeat(sine waves), but app inventor isn't that advanced yet, for it only tracks 1/100th of a second before the graph cancels out. Not to mention the axises are all reversed, and the graph goes from right to left rather than left to right. So, in total this idea was futile. 

But the app that we have created now works and can be useful in numerous different ways. As explained under process, listening to one's heartbeat is very beneficial and nurturing to one's meditative state. Thus, we figured that this device could potentially be useful for people with insomnia, so as to lower heart rate, and listen to the peaceful pulsations with just the press of a button. 

Arduino Coding

Zachary Mills

The Arduino Coding for the project focused on communication via bluetooth and identifying heartbeats from the sensor data. Communicating with bluetooth especially took a toll on the project. MIT App Inventor could not keep up with the stream of data that the arduino wanted to send, so the arduino's BPM had to be lowered to 9600 BPM as opposed to the previous 115200 BPM. Even following this, there was a permanent delay between the data recieved and the sound played. Our team ran out of time to fix this problem. In addition, the pulse sensor had been very generous with what was a hearbeat and what wasn't. We narrowed down what would be registered as a heartbeat as best we could (beat times, timers, etc.) in the arduino coding, but it was never a perfect fix. The arduino coding itself transformed the heartbeat sensor data from analog into binary and sent it over bluetooth to the application. This made our team's job in MIT App Inventor much easier. The app only had to detect ones and zeros, and respond accordingly to each.

Process

Kate Reed

We started off the studio by learning all about the brain, and therapies for the brain. I had never had any brain science before whatsoever. It was a LOT to take in all at once. We then broke off into groups to do brain research. I paired up with Nathaniel and Sam.

We had a list of neurological disorders to get us jump started on what we wanted to do for our project. We ended up straying from the list, and got interested in Phantom Limb Disorder.

Phantom Limb Disorder occurs in 60-80% of amputees. It is when amputees experience feelings in the limb they no longer have. They are convinced that their old limb is in an uncomfortable position, or they think that there old limb has an itch, warmth or tingling. This occurs because the nerve endings where the limb was amputated send messages to the brain, tricking the brain into thinking that there is still a limb there.

The current solution for Phantom Limb Disorder is Mirror Therapy. Say you are missing a leg, but feel you have an extremely annoying itch on that leg. You would put a mirror in between your legs, facing your non-amputated leg. Looking into the mirror, it would look like your leg is still there. By simply making it look like someone is scratching your leg in the mirror, you can sooth your itch by tricking your brain.

Our first idea was to make a digital prosthetic for the amputee. The amputee will stand in front of a camera, or Kinect, and the screen will reflect back on them a limb where they lack one. The limb will be a reflection of their opposite limb, but will be mirrored and controlled separately. The concept is to reassure the person that their limb isn’t in a weird position or on fire or something. The person will be able to see an image of their old limb back, but slowly that limb will fade out to the prosthetic they have now. As the Prosthetic appears we may have the background change to something really awesome, to show some positive aspects of having a prosthetic limb.

Our second idea was to make an app that is like mirror therapy on the go. The user will point it down at their amputated leg, and it will show their leg back in one piece as they walk. There will be different skins that the leg can be such as, skeleton, muscles, and their typical skin tone or clothing

The app will start off by verbally giving you a pace to walk at (“left, right, left, right”) and then you will start to walk with the app. Once you start walking the verbal cues will be replaced by normal footstep sounds. The camera of the device should be pointed down as you walk, showing your legs. The app shows you a full leg as you walk that is layered over your prosthetic leg. It reassures you and your brain that your leg is walking, and not in a weird position or on fire or something. During each session with the app, the leg will fade out, until at the end of the session, it is just you walking at the pace it gives you. The app is supposed to slowly lean you away from Phantom Limb Syndrome and teach your brain to accept the loss of the limb.

We realized that making an app was above our level of expertise. We considered using Aurasma, an augmented reality app to simulate the limbs, but it just didn’t work out in the time frame we had.

We ended up completely starting over on Day 5, and dropping the phantom limb entirely. The phantom limb concept was not a big enough problem for all of us to tackle, and our solutions were above our level of skills.

After switching gears, we decided to tackle the problem of stress. We originally targeted autistic kids as our users, because they can’t always tell when they are getting stressed out, but then we expanded our audience to everyone, because everyone gets stressed.

We made a device that monitors your stress levels. We used a skin conductivity sensor, which can pick up subtle changes in your skin conductivity by how much you’re sweating, and can tell how stressed a person is. The skin conductivity sensor is the same sensor that is used in a lie detector test. We wanted to make the conductivity sensor disguised as a bracelet, but unfortunately we didn’t time it out with the 3D printer, and didn’t actually make it a bracelet. We also made an app that goes along with it that can track the stress levels, and intervene to help calm you down when it senses you are getting stressed.

We made the skin conductivity sensor out of tin foil, velcro and an arduino. We had trouble receiving information from the sensor. The arduino sends the numbers from the sensor to a program called Processing, which visualizes the information. We were having trouble getting Processing to talk to the arduino, and to display the information. We ended up deciding not to use Processing. Once we had made the skin conductivity sensor and proved it worked, we made a few more sensors that were more compact. Once we had the sensor smaller we took the dimensions of the electronics for the bracelet, and start designing it on Rhino.

We designed the bracelet to have a locking mechanism similar to the locks they have on hotel doors. Our design did not end up working out because the locks were too small, and couldn’t print in the detail it required. We didn’t time out the bracelet with the end of our project. The bracelet ended up needing about four hours to print. Unfortunately because of the time it took we couldn’t actually put everything together on the bracelet before our presentation.

We also designed an app to receive the information from the bracelet. We created the app on the MIT App Inventor. The app inventor is similar to a program called Scratch. It has blocks that you drag and fit together to program. Our app has two pages, the home screen and the setup page.

On the home page, it has a slider to show you your stress levels, and a button that can take you to the Setup page. On the Setup page, you have the option to connect to Bluetooth to get the information from the arduino. You also have the option to choose your settings, such as how you want the app to interact when you get too stressed. Currently if you get too stressed, the app can either send a text message to you or someone else alerting them of your stress, or the app can start to play music to calm you down.

We ended up spending one week on our final project. This was a difficult project to break into enough work for three people.

 

 
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Final

Kate Reed

My partners Nathaniel, Sam and I made a device that monitors a person’s stress levels. We used a skin conductivity sensor, which can pick up subtle changes in your skin conductivity by how much you’re sweating and can tell how stressed a person is. The skin conductivity sensor is the same sensor that is used in a lie detector. We wanted to make the conductivity sensor disguised as a bracelet, but unfortunately we didn’t time it out with the 3D printer, and didn’t actually make it into a bracelet. We also made an app that goes along with the sensor that can track the stress levels and intervene to help calm you down when it senses you are getting stressed. 

Process

Kate Reed
 
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Process

Charlotte Francis

This project started with the idea to make one fall asleep and stay asleep, but evolved into something far broader. The final product that we created was a pulse oximeter and an app (made on MIT app inventor.) The App is connected through bluetooth to an arduino which has a light sensor which captures one's heartbeat. This is done through an led, which is on the pulse sensor, that when pressed against one's finger or ear lobe calculates the BPM through recieving either a 0 or a 1; 1 is a pulseation and 0 is a not. The arduino reads these numbers and sends them to the app which plays the heartbeat sound whenever a 1 is recieved.

The benefit of listening to one's heartbeat is greatly examined in Eastern medicine; it is often a method in tai chi, and is known to have soothing and somnolent benefits. We put the sensor's arduino/battery inside a bear, so as to not look quite so threatening. 

Mobile Health

Amro Arida