Population aging is a worldwide phenomenon, but its impact on Qatar is unique. It is reported that Qatar's elderly population is estimated to reach 21% by 2050 and studies have shown that aging has the strongest impact on long-term care expenditures. Moreover, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Qatar and the mortality rate is ever-increasing. Qatar now has a public health service providing free or very low cost health care for its nationals. However, due to a dramatic rise in the number of people with illnesses and high costs associated with managing and treating them, Qatar government might face financial burden of such medical support. Therefore, a comprehensive solution has been developed to deliver innovative, low-cost and qualitative health services to Qatar. The proposed system is low cost and compact with self-monitoring and automatic diagnosis function, which encourages the participation of the whole nation for the prevention of illnesses or early prediction of diseases such that pre-emptive treatment can be delivered. The underlying idea is that prevention is better than cure, and when cure is required, it is to start as soon as possible, preferably before any symptoms become apparent. This implies less time and less treatment before the illness becomes complex and out of control, thus saving resources. In this project, a wearable sensor platform has been developed for long-term and continuous ECG and Photoplethysmograph (PPG) measurement (Fig.1). The design of the platform meets the requirement of comfortable, durable and washable. A novel sensor node with single highly-integrated board had been designed (Fig.2), which comprises of a MCU, ECG analog front-end, LED driver circuits, a wireless chip and a FTDI chip. A miniaturized wireless gateway (Fig.3) was also designed and fabricated to wirelessly receive the data from physiological sensor node through wireless chip and relay the data to PC through USB port. For ECG measurement, a novel micromachined electrode (Fig. 4) was designed and the unique characteristic feature of this electrode is that the microneedle array is made of heavily doped silicon, which is electrically conductive and eliminates the requirement to dope Ag/AgCl or metal layer on the microneedles for electric contact. The microneedle array is fabricated at wafer level using three step deep reactive ion etching (RIE) process. A watch-like gadget had been further developed as an enhanced gateway to replace the PC for data acquisition and real-time plotting, which comprises of NXP LPC2148, Nokia LCD screen, SD card and wireless chip as shown in Fig. 5-6. All measured signals from own-customized sensor nodes will be wirelessly transmitted to this gateway and then be real-time saved on SD card or plotted on the LCD screen. Recently, a miniaturized Bluetooth-based three leads ECG sensor chip (Fig. 7) was developed and fabricated to provide more ECG information for further classification and sentinel events detection. A WAP-based telemedicine system has also been developed and its aim is to facilitate the user to utilize WAP devices (e.g., iPhone) as mobile access terminals for general inquiry and monitoring services (Fig.8).


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