AAL4ALL project details

As mentioned earlier, my project involves setting up a sensor gateway and trying to get sensor data through the ZigBee wireless protocol. As sensor gateway I’ll be using a Raspberry-pi computer:


This computer has the size of a credit card and can in terms of processing power be compared to a Pentium 3 computer. It’s been released in 2012 and it has build up some popularity as a media center device, but it’s also used a lot in electronic projects. Because of it’s low power usage, it’s ability to run Linux and it’s ability to directly connect to other electronics through it’s IO pins and USB ports, makes this board perfect for using it as sensor gateway. The board will run Linux and we will use it to collect sensor data and afterwards make the data available on the home network or even to online internet services. The R-Pi has an RJ45 ethernet port which allows us to connect our gateway directly to our home router. The sensor data will be collected wireless through the ZigBee protocol. ZigBee communication is in some way comparable with Wi-Fi and uses radio frequency waves. To use ZigBee I’ll be using XBee modules, one at the gateway side and one per sensor that I want to interconnect.



XBee modules support UART which is also supported by the Raspberry-pi board, and the R-Pi also provides the correct supply voltage so we can directly attach the XBee modules to the Raspberry-Pi, but due to the pin layout and size we will also need a breadboard and a breakout board and some electrical wires off course:

r-pi to xbee connection


Currently I’m still waiting for the Raspberry board to arrive but the coming weeks I’ll spend some time exploring the ZigBee protocol by connecting XBee modules to my portable through the USB-port. I’ll also try to write a basic Java program which allows me to easily configure these XBee modules and with which I can send and receive data. Once again, wish me luck!


Ambient Assisted Living 4 All


It is no secret to you that the group of people at the age of at least 65 is continuously growing. We live longer, but this also has its impact on assisted living and retirement homes: people never required so much help from nurses and other educated people to support them in their live. The Ambient Assisted Living for All project I’ll be working on is an IT system which aim is to support people who can still live more or less on their own but require additional help for some of their daily tasks. My exact objective is to set up a gateway device which collects data from remote sensors. Once the data is collected it can be interpreted and/or be send to remote servers and services in the local LAN and internet. The data which could be collected by the gateway could be for example is simple as monitoring the pressence of someone through a radar detector or monitoring the health of a person through his heartbeat. As gateway device I’ll be using a Raspberry-Pi computer, communication between the Pi and the difference sensors will be done via the ZigBee protocol (wireless radio frequency) and XBee modules. Depending on how fast I get through this project I can try to implement different types of sensors and for example make a  web interface around all the attached sensors (display the data).

Aside of that, assisted living is actually a lot more than just monitoring some stuff:

It can not only help elderly people but also people with disabilities like those who are for example in a wheelchair, or in general people who just need some extra help living on their own. AAL can help them not to forget taking their medicine, it can monitor the lifestyle and health but it can also add make sure the people feel less isolated by offering social services and entertainment. The AAL4ALL system is also aiming to connect the AAL4ALL gateway to remote medical services and patient files in order to automate and aid when medical assistance should be provided.

The picture below shows how, not AAL4ALL precisely, but IT in general can help in the daily tasks of people:

However, my main task will be to set up the sensor gateway and to set up the ZigBee communication. Later you learn more on how I did this and how this is done precisely.