Improving Worker Safety with IoT Stress Monitors

This device is useful for monitoring the safety of workers in the field where Wi-Fi access isn’t available, but cellular is.

Brandon Satrom

VP of Developer Experience, Blues Wireless

People who work alone or in remote areas lack supervision or the ability to call for help when injury and illness occur, resulting in delays in emergency response. This wearable IoT stress monitor tracks individual health and environment data via Bluetooth and cellular, even in remote settings. A cloud-based dashboard is accessible remotely, tracks the data in real time, and sends automated alerts triggered by specific health events and environmental stimuli. To protect the sensitive health data it’s transmitting, the Notecard integrates an STSAFE Secure Element for end-to-end data encryption.

When building an IoT device Proof of Concept (PoC) or prototype it’s best to use a Blues Wireless Notecard System on a Module (SoM) because it’s the quickest and most affordable way to add connectivity. Did you know with Blues Wireless you can go from unboxing the product, to sending arbitrary data over the global cellular network in less than 30 minutes? You can build a fully functional prototype of an IoT stress monitor for less than $300, using only 5 hardware components.

 

Texts sent to calm a user down

Brandon Satrom

Biometric and Environmental Monitoring

What if a wearable device could monitor worker safety with an automatic alert and response system based on changes in their vital signs or environment? This device is useful for monitoring workers in the field where Wi-Fi access isn’t available, but cellular is. When atypical metrics are recorded on this device, an SMS alert system is triggered and the data is accessible via a cloud dashboard for remote monitored by team members. Using Blues Wireless Notecard, GPS coordinates are captured, allowing emergency responders to pinpoint an approximate location of the person in distress.

This is the best way to build a wearable IoT stress monitor prototype because it’s built on one board and transmits data securely:

  • Notecarrier-AF is a host board (called a Notecarrier) that has headers enabling use of any Feather-compatible device.
  • Notecard is cellular and GPS-enabled device-to-cloud data-pump.
  • Notehub.io routes data to your cloud.
  • Notecard provides network connectivity available in 130 countries.
  • Each Notecard includes 500MB of data accessible over a 10-year period.
  • Notecard secures transactions without any provisioning challenges, using encrypted “off the internet” communication.

 

Behind the IoT Stress Monitor

If you’re looking to get a prototype built from the group up in less than a day, this is the best project to follow. You can find the complete source code for the project at the GitHub repository linked below and complete project assembly instructions on Hackster.

GitHub: https://github.com/bsatrom/wfh_stress_monitor

Hackster: https://www.hackster.io/brandonsatrom/serenity-now-build-your-own-bluetooth-wfh-stress-monitor-cc5fdb

 

Cost: $262.90

Project Time: 4 hours

Lines of Code: 84

Languages: JavaScript, Python, HTML, CSS

 

All the hardware for the stress monitor project

Brandon Satrom

Hardware

Software apps and online services

The main parts of this project are:

  1. Connecting your microcontroller and sensors
  2. Encrypting data
  3. Routing encrypted data to the cloud
  4. Decrypting data for storage in your cloud infrastructure
  5. Building your dashboard
  6. Establishing alert thresholds
  7. Sending alerts
Project architecture diagram

How Blues Wireless Improves Biometric and Environmental Monitoring Device Builds

Working with biometric data and ensuring the device correctly reports metrics and observations requires a certain mastery of mathematical and biological topics. Getting that part right is crucial for the device to provide the intended value. We advise our customers to reduce the overall system complexity by using pre-built System on a Module (SoM) technology with zero-configuration provisioning for connectivity.

Blues Wireless is the simplest way to add connectivity to an IoT device. In 30 minutes, you can unbox the product and send your data over a global cellular network, with no configuration needed. Think of Blues Wireless like a snap-in connectivity layer that just works, letting you focus on the important, custom parts of the device.

In the image below, you’ll see a left-to-right depiction of how sensor data moves from an edge device to a cloud application. Blues Wireless provides the infrastructure for bidirectional communication between edge devices and cloud endpoints via a combination of hardware and software. On the hardware side, in the host device, Blues Wireless Notecard provides an internal endpoint for sensor data. Notecard securely transmits the sensor data to the customer’s preferred cloud endpoint via Blues Wireless Notehub, an intermediary cloud application. Notehub provides protocol translation, transport security, data routing, device management, and device firmware update capability.

Blues Wireless device-to-cloud ecosystem diagram

Get Started

To build your prototype, start with the Polar Verity Sense Heart Rate Monitor, a Bluetooth-enabled device to capture heart rate. Add the Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense, a wireless sensor platform with Bluetooth, motion sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, temperature, pressure, humidity, proximity, light, color, and gesture sensors, as well as a PDM microphone and sound sensor. And it supports CircuitPython, Arduino or C/C++ using the Nordic nRF SDK.

For cloud connectivity, use the Blues Wireless Notecard, a cellular and GPS-enabled device-to-cloud data-pump that comes with 500 MB of cellular connectivity data and 5,000 monthly consumption credits included. For the fastest device build, plug the Notecard into a host board called the Notecarrier AF because it includes headers compatible with any Feather device.

Further, to get data where you want it, use Blues Wireless Notehub. Notehub is the cloud service for securely managing fleets of Notecards and routing Notecard-provided data to third-party cloud applications. Notehub allows for secure communications between edge devices and the cloud without certificate management or manual claiming of devices. With the Notecard/Notehub combination you are free to push data into your cloud application of choice so you can choose the best architecture and tools for your device build.

For technical support with the Blues Wireless Notecard, Notecarrier, or Notehub, please visit dev.blues.io.

Stress monitor dashboard

Other Wearable Stress Monitor Applications

This device can be used to monitor health conditions of people as well as changes in their environment. Here are some other ideas for this device:

  • Police, Emergency First Responders and Construction Workers can use this to detect oncoming vehicles.
  • High-risk and solo remote workers like Wind Turbine Technicians or Wilderness Rangers.
  • Air traffic control specialists, Warehouse workers, or people working overnight shifts.
  • Remote patient monitoring for outpatient cancer treatment.
  • Event monitor for the elderly or adults with disabilities.

Ready to Discuss Your Project With Us?

Blues Wireless makes it easy to make connected devices. In the article above, you’ve seen how little effort it takes to build an initial proof-of-concept device that reports sensor data over the cellular network. In some cases, it’s best to start with one of our proof-of-concept applications, then swap out sensors or cloud apps until you get what you want. In others, it would be best to take a different tact entirely.

We can help. Schedule a consultation with a Blues Wireless Project Expert to discuss your project idea with you and help you find the shortest path to a proof-of-concept device to get your product or device connected to your cloud.

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Frequently Asked Questions

    I need to measure different data. How can I customize this device?

    By adding a host MCU, you are able to capture any type of information and communicate it to the Notecard using our JSON interface over UART or I2C.

    If you have questions about acquisition or compatibility, please Contact Us.
    Which microcontrollers does the Blues Wireless Notecard support?

    The Notecard is compatible with any microcontroller (MCU) from an 8-bit Arduino to 32-bit ESP32 or STM32 and every major Single Board Computer (SBC) platform. Some popular examples include the Adafruit Huzzah32, STM32 Nucleo, Arduino Nano, ESP32-WROOM, among many others. The Notecard communicates over either I2C or UART, so it acts as a peripheral that you can connect to a product’s existing I2C bus or UART connection.

    It’s also possible to communicate with the Notecard from any embedded language, including compiled languages like C and C++, to interpreted languages like Python and JavaScript.

    Which cellular networks does the Blues Wireless Notecard utilize?

    Different models of the Blues Wireless Notecard are available that connect to LTE-M, NB-IoT, and Cat-1 networks globally. When LTE-M, NB-IoT, or Cat-1 aren’t available, the Notecard is also supported by UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless standards.

    I need a fleet of devices. Are there options for me to buy a larger quantity?

    Yes! Blues Wireless can support your project whether you need 10 devices or 10,000. We also have relationships with device building firms and contract manufacturers to help bring your vision to life.

    Please Contact Us.
    Which countries does the Blues Wireless Notecard support?

    Global coverage is available in 135 countries, with direct support provided by leading providers and carriers. For a full list, please see our documentation article on Notecard’s supported countries.

    Which wireless standards are used by the Blues Wireless Notecard?

    Various Notecard models are available that connect to LTE-M, NB-IoT, and Cat-1 networks. In global regions without these capabilities, coverage is also supported by UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless standards.

    Does the Blues Wireless Notecard require a Notecarrier to function?

    No! The Blues Wireless Notecard is a small 30mm x 35mm system on module (SoM) that is able to be embedded in any IoT project on its own via its M.2 edge connector.

    However, Blues Wireless provides a variety of Notecarrier host boards for easily adding cellular connectivity to a new or existing IoT solution for prototyping purposes. The Notecarrier also provides antennae for both the GPS and cellular capabilities of the Cellular Notecard (and the cellular antenna is also compatible with the Wi-Fi Notecard).

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