An IoT approach to managing wearable device smart services - Embedded.com

An IoT approach to managing wearable device smart services

Modern society is looking for user-friendly aiding systems, able not only to remotely monitor the health of the elderly and people suffering from chronic diseases, but also to find a safe and efficient routine to practice some sport or single exercises in an outdoor or indoor environment (such as gymnasium), in order to improve each person’s level of fitness and health. In this context, Internet of Things (IoT)-related systems are able to bring solutions.

The IoT paradigm can be built using wireless sensor networks (WSNs) as the leading technology to acquire and manage data. Connecting other smart elements to a WSN (smartphones, watches, tablets, etc.) may also improve the user experience in the IoT, and it could act as a starting point for the use of the technology. If the smart devices are wearable, the first technology-access barrier is broken: the user just has to “wear” the technology as a daily-life garment.

A differential value of a WSN node is the fact that any external sensor can be connected in an easy way to itself, and the data sensing does not depend on the network man- agement. For example, if the application needs biometric or human physiological parameters (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, etc.) an external sensor must be connected in some way to the node.

A very easy and fast solution is using wireless communications protocols, such as Bluetooth. However, in this scenario a new challenge springs up: the existence of different types of devices or platforms (as there is no standardization in this kind of sensors), so it is desirable to abstract the hardware features and protocols from high-level layers. This can be done with an intermediate level of middleware.

It would be very useful if this middleware level is able both to process environmental measures, and receive user parameters with several sensors: localization, speed, health status, preferences, and so forth. In this way, a context-awareness system could be developed, and new services are able to be included in the applications without any other external intervention.

In this paper, we present a physical application involving a WSN as the foundation of a sports-related scenario. Gathering environmental and human physiological data and storing a user’s profile can lead into an autonomous physical condi- tion performance system, where the preferences and needs of every single user are evaluated to obtain safe and optimum exercise routines. Our proposal has three key novel components:

(1) The integration of several wearable devices in the Internet of Things world. In order to integrate these devices (provided with only Bluetooth connection), we have implemented a dual-protocol WSN/Bluetooth node.

In our proposal, we use two of these nodes: one connected to the wearable health-data monitor and another node connected to the smartphone or smartwatch. With these nodes, all the information from/to the wearable devices can be managed in the same way as the information from other WSN nodes. Any new wearable device can be included in our system, with the only limitation of being Bluetooth compliant, and the services offered by this new device can be discovered and used as well.

(2) The development of an ontology, included within the service-oriented semantic middleware, to model the services provided by the WSN. With the semantically annotated services it is possible to compose new services based on the existing single services, widening the platform for future applications.

(3) Integration of an enterprise service bus (ESB) in a WSN for an IoT-based application. With the ESB, all the services published by the WSN nodes (including the services available at the wearable devices, such as heart rate and body temperature) are available for third-party applications. If the ESB is connected to the internet, any external application can use our RESTful API to make requests to the published services.

To read this external content in full, download the complete paper at the author's online archives.

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