Carolina Gouveia, a PhD student from IT and the University of Aveiro, was distinguished with the second prize in the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2018, for the work developed within her MsC thesis entitled “Bio-Radar”.
The measurement of cardiopulmonary activity without the need for any physical contact with the human body has many applications, such as monitoring the vital signs of hospitalized patients or vehicle drivers, analyzing sleep disturbances, experimental psychology or even aiding recovery missions in the event of natural disasters.
The Bio-Radar prototype that Carolina developed during her MsC, under the supervision of José Vieira and Pedro Pinho (both from IT in Aveiro), "Enables these vital signs to be reliably captured using radio waves to accurately measure the distance between the antennas and the patient's rib cage", explains Carolina Gouveia. The system comprises a continuous wave radar, which digitally generates a sinusoidal signal, modulated by a carrier of 5.8 GHz. The received signal is a version of the transmitted signal, modulated in phase by the movement of the chest while the patient is breathing.
"Since a periodic movement of the rib cage occurs after breathing, the radar is able to measure this variation and determine the period of the respiratory rhythm. The developed prototype executes this measurement in real time through two antennas designed for the purpose that concentrate the radio waves in the user's chest, "says Carolina Gouveia.
Created in 2010, the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is sponsored by the Fraunhofer Portugal Research Association. The ideas competing in the contest must be based on MsC´s or PhD thesis, whose research is of practical utility, market oriented and focused on the areas of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Multimedia and other related sciences.
Photo: Carolina Gouveia with her supervisors José Vieira (on the left), Pedro Pinho (on the right) and the Bio-Radar prototype