Hwa Chong Institution (High School)
Projects Competition 2015
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We declare that the web-report is our own work and does not contain plagiarised material.
Upper Secondary
Engineering Science
12- 16
Project Title
Smart Nation Initiatives - Vital signs monitoring
Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterised by epileptic seizures. It affects mostly young children and there are huge amount of new cases each year. In fact, 70 million people are diagnosed with epilepsy today. And it is a very dangerous disease as it can happen anytime and anywhere and this may cause the patients to sustain severe injuries or even death. Hence, this lead us to come up with our project. Our project titled seizure detection aims to basically detect symptoms of epilepsy by using a motion sensor which will be attached to the arm of the epilepsy patient. The data collected will help identify epilepsy occurrences when sudden and vigorous movement is detected, which is likely because of seizure. The data can then be transmitted to caretakers so that they can come to the patients help at moments notice.
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Dr Arthur Tay (NUS)
Mr Herbert Fan (Hwa Chong Institution)
Team Leader/Members

(Name & Class)
Team Leader :

The aim of our project was to create a device for the detection of seizures in epileptic patients. We first decided to do some research on seizures and current methods of seizure detection. During the June holidays, we went to the NUS Computer Science Department to discuss some project details with our external mentor, Dr. Arthur Tay, where we listed the goals and objectives of our project: 1) To build a prototype using an Arduino circuit board and motion sensor 2) Design a programming code to process and relay data from the prototype to a computer 3) Design a graph to show the motion of the prototype In the lab, we were provided with a few electrical components, including motion sensors and circuit boards. After referring to some instruction manuals for guidance, we managed to piece the circuit board, motion sensor, battery and switch. We decided that the prototype should be worn on the patient's wrist, because it would be convenient and there would be obvious spasms of the wrist during seizures. We also had to find a way to wirelessly transmit data from the sensor to the computer. Our mentor suggested that we use an X-Bee transmitter to do so. We tried using the software XCTU to configure our X-Bee transmitters and eventually succeeded. Then, we started to work on the programming code to process and relay our data to a computer. Designing our programming code was one of the most challenging segment of our whole project, mainly because programming language was fairly foreign to us. Because of our lack of prior knowledge about programming, we had to learn some basics through tutorial videos online. We made use of some sample codes, modifying them where appropriate such that they could be used for our prototype. This was a lengthy process which took a few days to complete, due to the challenges we faced. For example, our code would sometimes fail to run due to errors in the code, yet we could not find out what these errors were. It was a painstaking process to go through the code line-by-line to correct these errors. Eventually, we were able to create a working code. Our group's main method of resolving problems or conflicting views was through reasoning and discussion. Whenever we encountered difficult problems, we would voice our concerns and brainstorm together to find suitable solutions. If we had differing opinions, we would present our viewpoints during group meetings and reason with each other. This allowed us to view the issue from different perspectives, and from there we could decide and vote on the best course of action. Creating a conducive environment for the sharing of ideas was vital in ensuring teamwork and collaboration. I think that there was definitely room for improvement. If we had more time to work on this project, we would have added an SpO2 sensor to the device so as to detect the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood of the patient. This would enhance the capabilities of the device to detect seizures in patients, thereby increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of our device. We would also have spent more time working on the graph to display the changes in motion of the device. From this project, I managed to learn more about programming codes and computer science. It was an enriching experience to go through the process of designing a working prototype of the device. I also learnt the value of teamwork, where we had to divide and conquer to do tasks efficiently.

Group Members :

I have to say first of all I have a learnt a lot from this project. Not only have I learnt programming, I also learnt about how to make use of circuit boards how to code them. I am now much more familiar with the Arduino system too and it is likely I can make use of them for future projects. It was an enriching learning journey for me considering we also had the amazing opportunity of working with NUS students and mentors who helped tremendously in our project by helping us with coding and providing the motion sensor. Besides learning many things, I also had the opportunity to work with Atticus and Cheok Feng who were very supportive and great team members. It would have being impossible to even finish the project until the current stage without them. This brings me to another important skill I have learnt, which is teamwork. By working together and through division of labor, we have accomplished much more. For instance, we were told to split the project into 3 parts, the Arduino circuit and programming part, the transmission to computer via Xbee and the processing of data by drawing graph. We then each chose a part and worked on it, increasing our efficiency by a lot. This goes on to show that teamwork is a very important skill that can be applied not just to our project, but in our daily lives too for instance, in sport. We did encounter many problems alone the way such as the fact that somehow our motion sensor refuse to transmit its data to our computer. We changed the Xbee transmitter for another one and it still did not work. A recalibration of both transmitters did not help either. In the end, the NUS student spotted there was a error in the calibration and helped us to finally transmit the data onto the computer. This goes on the show that we still have a lot to learn in terms of circuits and programming, but perseverance is needed to solve any problem. Had we given up and did not bother to seek help, we would have hit a dead end there and then. However with those being said, there is a lot of room for improvements in our project. For instance, it would have being much better if we have drawn a graph from the data we have collected to demonstrate the 3D motion. Also, a real life testing of the motion sensor was a very important part of our project, which we failed to do. It has to be said that we sort of bite off too much to chew in the sense that we even hoped to make a server to transmit the data from the motion sensor to another devise, which on later thought would have required much more time and can even be considered another entirely new project. Thus, we could no way finish what we hoped to do and we should have set more realistic goals. Not only that, I had to admit we did not spend much time on the project for the term 3 and was rushing at the end, leading to us not accomplishing much in the later stages. I think we could have done a much better job than just rushing towards the last few days before the finals. It is a lesson for us that doing last minute works is never going to help. All in all, while it was a very meaningful learning experience and eye-opener for me, I feel that we definitely could have done better for our project. There are so much things we could have done after our visit to the NUS but somehow we did not manage due to poor time management of time between project and studies. However, we definitely have learnt our lessons and in future we will not repeat such kind of mistake again.
Our group intended to create a seizure detector which would alert the seizure patient’s caretaker during a seizure. We had meetings with Professor Tay from the National University of Singapore, and he gave us advice and guidelines on how to go about our project when we first began. His students then guided us through the making of the product. Basically, the plan was to use an Arduino board, which contained a code which could measure motion data with the built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. The device is meant to be worn on the wrist. Then, should an epilepsy patient suffer from a stroke, there would be a sudden increase in magnitude of the motions by the patient. The motion data would be constantly sent to a computer, which would contain a code to sound an alarm when there is a sudden surge in the magnitude of motion. This would alert the caretaker to take immediate action and check on the patient. By the semi-finals, we only managed to finish the code that measures motion data, with the guidance of a student of Professor Tay. The judges deemed that this was insufficient and did not meet the requirements of the semi-finals, and hence failed us. The main reason why we failed was because we started the project quite late in the year, in June. Although we had many meetings during the holidays at the NUS, it still proved to be insufficient. Time management was our “fatal flaw” in this project, as it seemed that we had several months to complete the project, so we ended up procrastinating. This has been an important lesson for me and I will ensure that I would never repeat such a foolish mistake again. This project is heavily reliant on coding, something that is complex and not very easy to comprehend for me, as well as my group members. Although we had Infocomm lessons in Secondary One and Two, it was a big challenge and tall order for us, due to our inexperience in coding and programming. However, through this project, I have learnt quite a bit on C programming and Arduino. It was also with the patience and guidance of Professor Tay’s students that we managed to understand the programming mechanics of Arduino. Although we did not manage to complete the product, through this project, I have seen the power and potential of programming at a deeper level, experiencing how it’s like to programme, and actually see how programming can allow devices to function in a certain manner. It is interesting and fun to create codes and see how they work. I would do more research and perhaps join programming courses to further my understanding and interest in programming.