Baby-Guard: An IoT-based Neonatal Monitoring System Integrated with Smart Textiles

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



A rising number of preterm babies demands innovative solutions to monitor them in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) continuously. NICU monitors various kinds of vital signs. Among them, there is a strong demand for an accurate and sophisticated technology to monitor respiration rate (RR) and detect critical events such as apnea. Existing solutions for RR monitoring either rely on the indirect measurements from thoracic impedance or other invasive techniques posing discomfort and risk of infections to babies. Also, multiple wire loops lying around babies hinder the delivery of parental and clinical care. Motivated by this need, we have designed an Internet-of-Things (IoT) based smart textile chest belt called "Baby-Guard"to monitor RR and detect apnea. The Baby-Guard is a neonatal wearable system consisting of a sensor belt, a wearable embedded system, and an edge computing device. The sensor belt consists of textile-based pressure sensors and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The wearable system consists of a microcontroller equipped with wireless connectivity and power management. The edge computing device (ECD) connects with the wearable system through an MQTT networking architecture. ECD hosts signal processing and computing services to extract RR and detect apnea. We conducted simulation experiments using a high-fidelity, programmable NICU baby mannequin. We found an average error of 0.89 BrPM in breathing rate and ~97 percent accuracy in apnea detection. Computation and communication latencies were found to be ~66 and 22 ms, respectively. The Baby-Guard showed potential to be a wireless infant monitoring system in the NICU settings.

Publication Title

Proceedings - 2021 IEEE International Conference on Smart Computing, SMARTCOMP 2021