Frequently Asked Questions

BioHarness™ FAQ | Team System

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What does it measure?

  • Heart rate (using an ECG trend)
  • Respiration (using thoracic expansion rate)
  • Skin temperature (infra red sensor)
  • Posture (using a device to measure the angle of the unit from fully vertical)
  • Activity (using acceleration data)

How are the measurements displayed?

As real-time data or downloaded data (i.e. after a training exercise). The data is shown as a combination of graphs, figures and icons which provide a visual warning which flashes alerts when the wearer’s measurements are exceeding safe thresholds.

Is the ECG auto-ranged?

No. However in the research software application there are two options for ECG - ECG-Raw and ECG-Autoranged. The CSV exported data file is raw data.

How does the breathing detection work?

The expansion and contraction of the thoracic cavity generates a size differential as measured by the strap under the wearer's right arm. This differential is picked up by the strap sensor and sent to the BioHarness module on the strap. Signal processing in the BioHarness module produces a waveform and breathing rate in Breaths per Minute.

This is subsequently transmitted via an ISM protocol to the RF dongle antenna. In the case of the Zephyr solution the data is imported into Zephyr 's PC application. This software application also performs additional filtering to improve the respiration quality.

When viewing the Zephyr PC application, inhilation is denoted by a downward trend in the breathing waveform. This is because the distance between the sensors in the strap is decreased (compressed) due to thoracic expansion. Commensurately, exhalation (sensor expansion) causes an upswing in the waveform. Respiration at rest should appear as a sine wave; respiration under activity should appear as a higher frequency sine wave.

In summary, signal processing and filtering that occurs in the BioHarness electronic module and PC application software is intended to produce 'best in class' performance with unmatched resistance to motion artefact.

What database is used initially to create the threshold levels and measurement benchmarks?

BioHarness data can currently be exported to any database capable of supporting the .csv file format, which is a common data exporting file type. Development work is currently in progress to link export data to other programming environments such as LabVIEW ® for greater flexibility of data storage and display.

If using for named wearers, how many data collection sessions would need to be carried out in order to build up an individual profile to be used as a benchmark for that individual?

A single exercise protocol can be devised which will establish heart rate and breathing behaviour during exercise and recovery periods.

How many people can be monitored on a single screen?

The beta version of the application displays a single user. A multi-user version of the application is under development.

How much does it weigh?

Garment: 50 grams Transmitter Unit: 35 grams

What does it look like?

The BioHarness is an elasticised Lycra blend chest-belt containing conductive (silver) fibres, which the measurement device clips into.

The stretch belt is fastened with a Velcro strip, allowing close contact between the body and the contact points on the measurement device. The device records data which can be transmitted via radio or other wireless networks, or downloaded into a docking cradle once the device is removed.

All the functionality is contained in the chest band and device with no additional attachments required by the wearer.

What sizes are available?

Five garment sizes are available, each of which is micro-adjustable.

XSmall To fit size 56 66 cm (22 - 26 inches)

Small: To fit size 66 - 82cm (26 - 32.5 inches)

Medium: To fit size 82 - 99 cm (32.5 - 39 inches)

Large: To fit size 99 - 115 cm (39 - 45.5 inches)

XLarge To fit size 115 - 132 cm (45.5 - 52 inches)

How is it powered?

A Lithium Polymer rechargeable cell. Charging is by USB through a laptop or other power source. Charging 3 hrs to 100% or 1 hour to 90% of capacity. Battery life in logging mode is currently 10 hours. Power management algorithms which will extend this period are under development.

How does the wireless transmission work?

For remote monitoring (rather than downloading data after an exercise), a USB radio receiver can be used for gym based tests (i.e. with the subject up to 15 metres away, for example on a treadmill). The supplied USB antenna will give optimum performance when sited at least 1m above ground level. Avoid obstructions - particularly metallic - between the BioHarness and the USB receiver antenna.

For field use, the system can be configured to transmit over Motorola Tetra digital radios, TechNet phones, Iridium satellite phones or using a VHF band on an existing communications system.

NB some transmission systems have limited ranges and are unable to transmit through solid floors/walls.

Will other radio sources interfere with the BioHarness signal?

No licence is required to operate in the ISM radio band. There may be interference from devices operating nearby on the same frequency. Specific filters have been incorporatedf to avoid interference from mobile phone relay transmitters.

Is the belt washable?

The garment should be given a delicate warm machine (or hand) wash once per month of use. It can be rinsed in water after each session to disperse perspiration buildup. It should be hung to dry out of direct sunlight.

Will the chest belt stay in place in active wear?

Yes. The tension required to keep the strap in place is adequate for most activities. A single shoulder strap can also be fitted to keep the garment in place during very strenuous activities.

What happens if it slips down/around or gets twisted?

The width of the strap makes it very difficult to twist. If slippage is an issue, the additional shoulder strap should be used.

How long does it take to don?

Less than 1 minute. The garment must be worn next to the skin.

How comfortable is it and how conscious is the wearer of the device in use (i.e. does it have a negative impact on the wearer's focus on the task in hand?)

The 50 mm wide fabric strap is much broader and more comfortable than plastic sports-type heart monitor straps. The wearer is conscious of the tension in the garment, but it is not irritating.

What Operating Systems are supported?

Windows XP/SP2 is currently supported. Windows Vista will be supported in the future. Mac systems are not currently supported.

Any other benefits?

Data from individuals can be stored and a database built up to create individual profiles so that danger points can be individually mapped.

Team System

How many Players can be monitored?

Up to 64. We can supply one-, four-, or sixteen-member systems as a starting point.

What can you see?

In real time, Heart Rate, Breathing Rate, Posture, Skin Temperature and Activity Level plus a number of performance parameters. Live data can be recorded and viewed graphically later, to compare one subject's performance over time, or up to 16 subject's performances against each other.

How is it useful?

The Team System is best used as part of a training regime which includes periodic controlled Fitness Tests. These establish and record or update a number of parameters which measure a subject's cardiopulmonary performance level. The real-time display is colour-coded to reflect a subject's performance relative to these stored values. You can see how hard a subject is working.

How do you measure performance?

The system can calculate and record a number of parameters:- Maximum Heart Rate - Maximum Breathing Rate - Breathing Rate at second ventilatory threshold (VT) - Heart Rate at VT - Heart Rate Recovery. Trend Analysis can show a decrease or increase in these values, either during appropriate activties, or a controlled Fitness Test. This can give an indication of a subject's relative improvement in (or loss of) performance.

Can the data be exported?

Yes, to a .csv file

Can data be backed up to removable storage?

Yes, though the in current implementation this must be done manually. Instructions are included in the User Guide.

Is Charging the devices using the USB wall charger quicker than connecting to a PC?

The charge duration is controlled by the devices and is exactly the same in either scenario.

More coming soon...