Chapter 6. Conclusion and future work
In this thesis, the
development of a Bed-Centered Telehealth System (BCTS) based on the
commercialized motion-sensing mattress WhizPAD is described. WhizPAD is a
textile-based sensor suited for long term monitoring in home and nursing home
environment. Working with a bedding manufacturer, WhizPAD with motion sensing
capability using the same material and fabrication process of the bedding
manufacturer, so that the mattress is comfortable, inexpensive, and is closer
to being a commercial product. Figure 5-1 shows the commercialized version of
Figure 5-1. Commercialized version of WhizPAD
Based on the decentralized
home telehealth system structure, WhizPAD is the center of health data
collection of telehealth systems. WhizPAD collects signals of physical
activities in bed, which can be classified into events such as on/off bed,
sleep posture and movement counts. The respiration rate detection and sleep
quality assessment of WhizPAD has also been developed for further applications.
Integrated with information and communication systems, the BCTS can provide home
telehealth functions including real-time monitoring (on/off bed status, sleep
posture, body movements, respiration rate, and sleep quality), service
reminder, and historical data record. So that caregivers
can maintain awareness of older adults’ daily activities and needs by using
their mobile devices to access the WhizPAD and further provide the necessary
care for them.
In the home
application, the BCTS have been tested for commercialization for four months. Now WhizPAD is a commercial product in department store
of Taiwan. Without the special setting, the BCTS of WhizPAD is plug and play in
home environment. By connects the BCTS with internet, it could facilitate the
tele-monitoring of the basic bed-related information of the older adults.
In the nursing
home application, the care management system of BCTS has been implemented in Yi-De
Nursing Home for 30 beds for six months. For the sensing aspect, the WhizPAD
was found to be able to detect the body movements correctly. Besides, the
ZigBee wireless network and remote server also worked well for data
transmission and storage. After implementing the care management system based
on WhizPAD, the nursing staff expressed that the abnormal leaving bed event
could be easily found, and bedsore event becomes to zero. Finally, the nursing
staff was satisfied with the benefits it brought about. In summary of the
nursing home applications, the proposed care management system integrated with WhizPAD
has the potential for the practical use in nursing homes toward a high-quality
the BCTS applications, two sensors of activities daily of living have also been
added in this study, including the ADL sensor and WhizCarpet. The ADL sensor
facilitates the monitoring of environment parameters, appliance usage and
mobility at home. WhizCarpet is used to detect the mobility at home and fall
event. All sensing devices communicate with the BCTS through Zigbee wireless
data transmission, and sensing data are stored in BCTS for data management. By
integrating these key sensors with the BCTS, more important information about
the living of older adults could be delivered to the remote caregivers.
In this research,
the bed is not only a comfortable zone for rest and sleep, but also becomes a
telehealth center for healthcare service. Tablets and mobile phones are the
main communication devices of the BCTS platform. The family members and
caregivers can keep aware of
the needs of the older adults for emergency and urgent care, as well as providing
life and health management for them.
6.2 Future work
the bed, the BCTS has the potential to be extended for broader applications.
The following tasks are being developed:
(1) Applications of light therapy based WhizPAD
timing and length of sleep are dependent upon an interaction of our brain. Our
body clock drives daily patterns called circadian rhythms, while a sleep
monitor, called the sleep homeostat, acts like a timer, tracking how long we
are awake. Particular groups of cells in the brain are involved in maintaining
a wake state, whilst others induce sleep. When these sleep homeostat get out of
sync, it might cause insomnia, sleep phase disorders and other problems like
waking too early or poor quality sleep.
Light is able to
synchronize the body clock and stimulate the brain cells to produce sleep or
wakefulness hormones at the right time. In addition, all body clocks have a
dimming sunset that promotes production of the sleep hormone melatonin to help
you unwind naturally, ready for bed.
Sleep improvement with light therapy
Based on the application of sleep quality assessment of WhizPAD, the
light can be integrated with WhizPAD. The time and light intensity of light for
therapy can be adjusted according to the sleep report of WhizPAD for home
users. The local application helps the home users to have better sleep
Wake up with light therapy
In this sleep awake application, a wake-up App connects to the
WhizPAD and light for. When the wake-up time is almost up, the intensity of
light will increase gradually, like the sunrise. The local application helps
the home users to wake up easily and energetically.
(2) Shaping a perfect sleep environment
Sleep can be
affected by the immediate environment, including lighting, noise, and
temperature. KNX is the worldwide standard communication protocol for all
applications in home and building control (ISO/IEC 14543-3) […]. A centralized
BCTS could be integrated with KNX to form a building automation application
that could control appliances according to sleep status detected by the BCTS.
For example, dim the light and raise the temperature of the air conditioner if
the BCTS detects that the user has fallen asleep.
commercialization of ADL sensor and WhizCarpet
In this study, the
integration of ADL sensor and WhizCarpet with BCTS for broader telehealth
application is proposed. Working with the SEDA company, a series of
related-bedding products cabable of telehealth functions are ready to being
products, including the ADL sensor and WhizCarpet.