Monitoring Vest for Patients With Damaged Spinal Cords



Introduction: Monitoring Vest for Patients With Damaged Spinal Cords

About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations based …


This project is a body temperature regulation device that will help control the body temperature for paralyzed people or people with spinal injuries. When the spinal cord is broken, the body's thermostat is broken, so it takes a very long time for one to warm up or to cool down. The normal body temperature is 98.6oF, but a person with spinal injuries will not be able to properly maintain that temperature, thus possibly leading to a heat stroke or hypothermia in extreme cases. This wearable device contains a heating element, a fan cooling system, a temperature sensor, and a pulse sensor. The user can use the temperature sensor located on the neck of the vest to take their own temperature, and be able to adjust the temperature accordingly. The heating element is carbon fiber tape that is attached on specific areas on the inside of the vest. Two medium-sized fans are on the back of the vest and they help cool the wearer. With the Monitoring Vest for Patients with Damaged Spinal Cords people with spinal injuries will never have to worry about constantly changing clothes to accommodate minor changes in temperature.

Step 1: Parts List

Computer fan, 2

Fleece Lined Hooded Vest, 1 (

Carbon heated tape, 2 meter x 44mm (

SEN-11574 pulse sensor, 1 (

Sensirion SHT1x temperature and humidity sensor, 1 (

Arduino Duemilanove, 1

Breadboard, 1

Various wires, connectors, tape

Step 2: Arduino IDE

Download Arduino IDE from and obtain materials listed above

Step 3: Pulse Sensor Code

Connect the Arduino to a computer and download the pulse sensor code (

Step 4: Pulse Sensor Code Cont.

Open the “PulseSensor_Amped_Arduino-master” folder, then the “PulseSensorAmped_Arduino_1dot4” folder, and finally the “PulseSensorAmped_Arduino_1dot4.ino” file with Arduino. The window should look like this. Follow the instructions on the code to enable serial monitor.

Step 5: Wiring Pulse Sensor

Then get a breadboard and some wires and use the following schematic to properly wire the pulse sensor. The purple wire goes to pin 0, the red wire goes to 5V, and the black wire goes to GND.

Step 6: Checking Pulse Sensor

Then, upload the code onto the Arduino and open serial monitor. Make sure the baud is 11520. Lightly pinch the pulse sensor and you should see you pulse on the serial monitor.

Step 7: Temperature/humidity Sensor Code

Add a new project in Arduino and download this arduino code. (

Step 8: Temperature/humidity Sensor Code Cont.

Extract the file and open the “examples” folder, then the “ReadSHT1xValues” folder, and then right click and open the “ReadSHT1xValues” file with Arduino IDE. the code should look like the following.

Step 9: Temperature/humidity Sensor Wiring

Use the same breadboard and use the following schematic to properly wire the temperature/humidity sensor.

Step 10: Checking Temperature/humidity Sensor

Upload the code to your Arduino and open the serial monitor. The result should show the temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit and the humidity percent as well. The black box around the data shows when I blew on the sensor. The temperature and humidity both increased.

Step 11: Cooling System

Cut two holes in the center of the vest for the fans to fit in, and also cut a piece of metal so mount the fans on. Then, hot glue the fans onto the piece of metal and then glue the metal onto the vest.

Step 12: Heating Element

Use the carbon heated tape and place it on the vest in a formation that covers the whole back side. Then, use adhesive fabric tape to adhere the carbon heated tape to the vest.

Step 13: Cleaning Up

Use electric tape, hot glue, double sided tape, and heat shrinks to tidy up the vest and to organize the wires. Utilize the pockets to store the Arduino/breadboard circuitry.

Step 14: Finished!

There you go! Your very own body temperature regulator. Future plans for this device will be to integrate a Bluetooth system that sends all the data to the users phone for ease of access, less visible wiring, and most likely a more efficient cooling system.

Step 15: Code

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