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Patient monitoring systems are gaining their importance as the fast-growing global elderly population increases demands for caretaking. These systems use wireless technologies to transmit vital signs for medical evaluation. In a multihop ZigBee network, the existing systems usually use broadcast or multicast schemes to increase the reliability of signals transmission; however, both the schemes lead to significantly higher network traffic and end-to-end transmission delay. In this paper, we present a reliable transmission protocol based on anycast routing for wireless patient monitoring. Our scheme automatically selects the closest data receiver in an anycast group as a destination to reduce the transmission latency as well as the control overhead. The new protocol also shortens the latency of path recovery by initiating route recovery from the intermediate routers of the original path. On the basis of a reliable transmission scheme, we implement a ZigBee device for fall monitoring, which integrates fall detection, indoor positioning, and ECG monitoring. When the triaxial accelerometer of the device detects a fall, the current position of the patient is transmitted to an emergency center through a ZigBee network. In order to clarify the situation of the fallen patient, 4-s ECG signals are also transmitted. Our transmission scheme ensures the successful transmission of these critical messages. The experimental results show that our scheme is fast and reliable. We also demonstrate that our devices can seamlessly integrate with the next generation technology of wireless wide area network, worldwide interoperability for microwave access, to achieve real-time patient monitoring.
Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:16 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2012