Healthy Aging Hackathon at IIT Kharagpur

19-year-olds come to the rescue of 90-year- olds with ambient assisted living solutions for the elderly

The IEEE Student Branch, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Student Club and IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) Student Branch of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur along with the IEEE Kharagpur Section and IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Affinity of the section, organized a two day electronics and information system design hackathon on the theme of “Healthy Aging: Ambient Assisted Living Technology Solutions for the Elderly” in August at the IIT Kharagpur. Coordinated by Tamoghna Ojha and Anandarup Mukherjee along with their team, the hackathon provided an opportunity to six shortlisted teams to build technology prototypes with limited electronic resources, such as Arduino kits, zigbee modules, accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, ultrasonic range, proximity sensors and unlimited dreams.

Himanshu Chaudhary, Arnab Kumar Mondal and Mohit Dhariwal, second year undergrads in instrumentation, electronics and physics from IIT Kharagpur made up an iron-man themed smart arm for assisting elderly people in navigating through dimly lit or dark areas. A simple hand glove was hacked and equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes, passive infrared (IR) sensors, ultrasonic sonar and a buzzer connected to an Arduino. The team demonstrated that the “smart arm” gloves, when worn by an elderly person, sense the hand pose using accelerometers and gyroscopes. Once it senses that the hand is held upright and straight horizontally, the passive IR and ultrasonic sensors are activated to start sensing the distance to an obstacle, which in turn sends out an alert using short or long buzzer beeps. This design has also won Himanshu, Arnab and Mohit a seed grant from the IEEE UPP mini-projects initiatives in 2015 for scaling up their prototype.

LEFT: (L-R) Arnab, Himanshu and Mohit. RIGHT: Himanshu with the smart arm gloves.

LEFT: (L-R) Arnab, Himanshu and Mohit. RIGHT: Himanshu with the smart arm gloves.

Aashay Bhise, Vraj Parikh and Shubh Agrawal, second year undergrads in mechanical engineering from IIT Kharagpur devised an assisting device with multiple features, including step counting based indoor mobility tracking, gesture recognition based and fall sensing based alert generation. Their design consisted of using an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer fixed on the knee and connected to an Arduino for measuring motion vectors to equate the indoor mobility map in absence of location trackers like GPS or without using alternatives like electromagnetic tracking. They have also included a passive IR and ultrasonic range sensor to be placed near the chest which can be used by the elderly for generating alerts for caregivers through simple hand waving gestures in proximity to the sensors. This design also monitors signal signatures from all sensors to detect a fall and alert caregivers of such a condition through a messaging server connected service.

(L-R) Aashay Bhise, Shubh Agrawal and Vraj Parikh with Shubh demonstrating their design.

(L-R) Aashay Bhise, Shubh Agrawal and Vraj Parikh with Shubh demonstrating their design.

Preetham K.S., Saurabh Dash and Siddharth S. Jha, second year undergraduates in electronics and electrical engineering at IIT Kharagpur designed the Smart “Laathi.” Laathi is a commonly used term across India and refers to the walking cane used by the elderly. Their design involved hacking a cane with a GPS location monitor and an ultrasonic range sensor with an Arduino for beeping to alert the elderly person carrying the cane of any obstacles in the path. The GPS tracker keeps track of the routes to be taken and beeps to alert the user of any possible detours.

Joshi Shailesh A, Rishabh Jain and Anurag Sharma are second year undergrads in electrical and instrumentation engineering at IIT Kharagpur and designed “Memento”, an active tracking tag which can be tied to common items like spectacles, keys and  bags. Equipped with a range sonar connected over the WiFi, it starts to beep when a finder alert is triggered from a paired smartphone through the app. The team also says that when fixed to the medicine box, “… this can also beep and alert them (elderly people) for taking medicine in time”.

Daleef Rahman, Kawaljeet Kumar and Divya Prakash are fourth year undergrads in electrical and electronics engineering from IIT Kharagpur who presented their design of “Geriatric”, a wearable continuous physical activity monitoring device with alert generation for caregivers. The accelerometer and gyro based system connected to an Arduino with WiFi alerts for accidental falls, triggers switching on-/off lights in a room by sensing sleep and activity state.

(L-R): Smart "Laathi" by Preetham, Saurabh and Siddharth. "Memento" by Shailesh, Rishabh and Anurag. "Geriatric" by Daleef, Kawaljeet and Divya Prakash.

(L-R): Smart “Laathi” by Preetham, Saurabh and Siddharth. “Memento” by Shailesh, Rishabh and Anurag. “Geriatric” by Daleef, Kawaljeet and Divya Prakash.

This Hackathon was organized to mark the inaugural spirit of the DIY (do it yourself) hackerspace of the IEEE Kharagpur Section, which aims to promote makers to solve real life engineering problems with the academic skills they have nurtured at IIT Kharagpur and by providing them a free accessible meeting and innovation space with a well-stocked lab. The organizers acknowledge active support of the team and support of IIT Kharagpur in incubating and accelerating the hacker spirits.

  • Richa Joshi

    Proud of my brother Shailesh Joshi