Vital signs can now be monitored using radar

This story was first published by University of Waterloo.

“We take the whole complex process and make it completely wireless. And instead of a clinic, it could be done in the comfort of your own bed and run daily for continuous monitoring.”

– Dr. George Shaker, an engineering professor at Waterloo and Research Scientist at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

A radar system developed at the University of Waterloo can wirelessly monitor the vital signs of patients, eliminating the need to hook them up to any machines.

Housed in a device smaller than a cellphone, the new technology records heart and breathing rates using sensitive radar waves that are analyzed by sophisticated algorithms embedded in an onboard digital signal processing unit.

 

Photo of radar box next to a smart phone
Photo of radar box next to a smartphone

Researchers developed the system to monitor sleep apnea patients by detecting subtle chest movements instead of connecting them to equipment in labs via numerous cumbersome wires.

“We take the whole complex process and make it completely wireless,” said George Shaker, an engineering professor at Waterloo. “And instead of a clinic, it could be done in the comfort of your own bed and run daily for continuous monitoring.”

In the study, the radar unit was mounted to the ceiling over the bed of more than 50 volunteers as they slept normally in a model long-term care apartment.

The system, which collects and analyzes data from radar waves that are reflected back to the unit from the bodies of patients, achieved results over 90 per cent as accurate as standard hard-wired equipment.

“This is the first time radar has been used for heart sensing with this degree of accuracy and in such an uncontrolled environment,” said Mostafa Alizadeh, a research associate who led the study. “Our subjects slept unobstructed, in any position, for up to eight hours.”

Researchers are also exploring use of the technology to monitor activity levels and falls by residents of long-term care homes, and in hospitals for routine monitoring of heart and breathing rates of all kinds of patients.

Advantages of the system for apnea monitoring include complete privacy since no cameras are used, much improved comfort and potential use in homes rather than special sleep clinics.

“With traditional systems involving wires and appointments booked weeks in advance, you can’t sleep as you normally do in your own bed at home, making the common sleep study an unpleasant experience,” said Shaker, a cross-appointed professor of electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

In addition to sleep apnea, which involves breathing that repeatedly stops and starts, the system can monitor conditions such as periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome and seizures.

Alizadeh and Shaker collaborated with Waterloo professors Plinio Pelegrini Morita and Safeddin Safavi-Naeini, and Joao Carlos Martins de Almeida, a professor at the University of Campinas in Brazil.

A paper on their work, Remote monitoring of human vital signs using mm-wave FMCW radar, appears in the journal IEEE Access.

 

Learn more about the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging at the-ria.ca


CAIRS anechoic chamber

C-COM granted 2nd patent for phased array antenna

This story was first published by C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

“This patent provides further recognition for the quality of innovation being carried out by the University of Waterloo’s research team.”

– Leslie Klein, President and CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

Ka-band phased array prototype

OTTAWA, May 6, 2019C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. (TSXV: CMI), the world’s leading provider of commercial grade auto-acquire mobile satellite antenna systems, announced today that it has been granted US patent No.10,211,527 for its invention of a phased array antenna calibration method and apparatus.

This is the second patent C-COM has been granted in the last year and comes as a result of its ongoing research and development into a novel electronically steerable Ka-band phased array antenna. A unique process for calibration of a phased array antenna is used to adjust internal phase shifters and amplifiers, making it possible to recalibrate the antenna on-the-fly, potentially mitigating service interruptions.

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The project is being developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo under the guidance of Dr. Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini, director of the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS) and with the assistance from the Ontario Centers for Excellence (OCE) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).“This new calibration technique will be integrated into our current active and fully modular phased-array technology,” said Dr. Safieddin Safavi-Naeini, a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. “In addition, our research team is using this new technology as an integral part of its first fully passive phased array antenna made of 4X4 intelligent modules. It opens the way to low-cost high performance electronically steerable mobile antennas for both commercial and personal device applications, which are now under development in our Centre,” Safavi-Naeini continued.

“This innovative method will allow for a rapid antenna calibration in the field, thus eliminating the costly return of the product to the manufacturer,” said Bilal Awada, Chief Technology Officer at C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

“This patent provides further recognition for the quality of innovation being carried out by the University of Waterloo’s research team,” said Leslie Klein, President and CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. “This advanced design, which will be incorporated into the next generation phased array antennas, should significantly increase their reliability and serviceability,” Klein added.

About C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. logo

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. is a pioneer and world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of mobile satellite-based antenna systems for the delivery of Broadband Internet to any location via Satellite. C-COM has developed a proprietary, one-button, auto-acquisition controller technology for rapid antenna pointing to a geostationary satellite with just the press of a button, enabling high-speed Internet connectivity where terrestrial markets are overloaded or simply don’t exist. The company has sold approximately 8,000 systems to customers in over 100 countries providing service to a wide range of vertical markets such as Oil & Gas Exploration, Military Communications, Disaster Management, SNG, Emergency Communications, Cellular Backhaul, Telemedicine, Mobile Banking, and others. The Company’s iNetVu® brand is synonymous with high quality, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

In partnership with a renowned research team at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS), C-COM has been developing a next generation Ka-band flat panel antenna based on advanced phased array technology for enabling high-throughput mobility applications over satellite: land, airborne and maritime. More information is available at: www.c-comsat.com

iNetVu® is a registered trademark of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.