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Thread: Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

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    Default Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum, so I hope I am posting in the right section. I apologize in advance if I am not.

    I have worked on java a lot in the past, however I have been a few years away from it. I am currently working on a program for my work in which I would need to retrieve information from a pulse oximeter (heart rate) of the person using the computer. I have seen a similar project from Harvard University in which they created a game in which the player could not move if their heart rate goes above a certain threshold. I am doing something similar. I have looked into how they did it and they say they used an arduino board. I am not familiar with that at all but I have researched about it.

    My question here is. I know there is some pulse oximeters that can be pluged straight in a USB for a software to recognize and pick up the information. Could I easily get the information about the heart rate from a java program if I utilize this kind of pulse oximeter in a USB? If so, I wonder why would the team from Harvard go through an arduino board? Would it be more simple if I utilize an arduino board rather than the USB?

    Any feedback on this information would be appreciated.

    Aiwa


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    Default Re: Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

    I've used USB-plugged devices from Java in the distant past - it does work. The problem you'll face is how well documented the USB interface is for whatever device you use - reverse engineering an interface isn't hard but it is time-consuming. It may be that the Harvard group made their own sensors and connected them directly to the Arduino so that the Arduino did not much more than acted as an interface 'adapter'. Have you tried asking them? I'm pretty sure they'll happily divulge that kind of detail.

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    Default Re: Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

    Ok. I actually did try to contact Harvard and since it is still in the trial phase they are not very happy to share the information I need.
    The fact that you mentioned that reverse engineering is somewhat time consuming answers my question and I will probably end up going with the Arduino board. I have found articles like this one: My Heart Rate on the (Cosm) Cloud! | Building Internet of Things in my research which are helpful.

    Thank you for your reply Sean.

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    Sean4u (June 27th, 2012)

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    Default Re: Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

    Oh! That was a useful post - I just happen to be working on something a bit like cosm and wasn't aware of the site

    I'd hesitate to recommend going down the Arduino route, unless you're actually planning to make hardware. A quick shopping search for pulse oximeters turns up a lot of inexpensive devices, some with 'PC links'. It might soon be cheaper to buy a sack-full of pulse oximeters and use the one that works easiest with USB than it is to do the research. Another thing you could try is contacting the manufacturer of those products and ask them for some example code. You might - depending on how cheeky you are - be able to get them to send you a sample product too. It all depends on your commercial 'angle'.

    Good luck with your project!

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    Aiwa (June 27th, 2012)

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    Default Re: Question about obtaining information from a pulse oximeter for program

    Thanks Sean. After looking more into the Arduino boards I find it that USB will be so much easier, even more considering I will be most probably using a laptop.
    I found this pulse oximeter on ebay that is pretty cheap: Fingertip Pulse Oximeter SPO2 USB SOFTWARE 24H RECORDE | eBay
    I know accuracy and quality are not the best but since I am still attempting to build the program I think this would work. Accuracy is not the most important factor atm. They also accept returns and has a 24 month warranty which is somewhat what I am looking for.
    I just hope I will be able to retrieve the data from a java file. I will do more research and ask them about it.

    Thanks again Sean.

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