Polymer Optical Fibre Sensor for Measuring Breathing Rate of Lying Person


Share / Export Citation / Email / Print / Text size:

International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems

Professor Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay

Exeley Inc. (New York)

Subject: Computational Science & Engineering, Engineering, Electrical & Electronic


eISSN: 1178-5608



VOLUME 7 , ISSUE 5 (December 2014) > List of articles

Special issue ICST 2014

Polymer Optical Fibre Sensor for Measuring Breathing Rate of Lying Person

Nabeel Ahmed / Patricia Scully / John Vaughan / Christine Brown Wilson / Krikor Ozanyan

Keywords : POF sensor; physiological sensor; noncontact; respiration rate; grooving; unobtrusive; passive; vital signs

Citation Information : International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems. Volume 7, Issue 5, Pages 1-6, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/ijssis-2019-104

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 15-February-2020



A physiological sensor enabling measurement of one of the vital signs (breathing rate) of a person without direct contact with the person is presented. Compared to current vital signs measuring devices we present a much simpler and less time consuming method of measuring vital signs with the potential for applications in hospitals and homes. A practical prototype sensor, based on polymer optical fibre (POF) sensor instrumentation was fabricated using Toray specific grade fibre exhibiting an increase in 30 % bending losses from the standard (FX 1000) commercial fibre. A 640 nm light-emitting diode was used to illuminate the fibre, with its sensitivity to bending increased by cutting transversal grooves along the fibre and then by applying plastic rods along the fibre to increase bending loss. Although both methods increased the bending loss of the fibre, grooving reduced POF durability and integrity, whereas use of the plastic rods enhanced bending losses without damaging the fibre. Signals from respiration as well as postural movements of a person lying on the POF sensor allow measurements to be taken in an unobtrusive manner. Bending losses attenuating light transmission through the fibre were related to displacement of POF during respiration (expansion and contraction of the chest cavity displace the surface in contact with the upper torso – in this case the meandering arrangement of the fibre sensor located on a TREDAIRE substrate). Bending losses were converted to voltage signals and captured by National Instruments hardware together with LabVIEW software. The sensor was found to be competent in evaluating respiration with a resolution of 100 µV and a sensitivity of 2.3 % change in light transmission for each breathing cycle of the person under study.

Content not available PDF Share



[1] World Health Organisation, “Towards age-friendly primary health care,” Active ageing, France, 2004

[2] T. Tamura, “Home geriatric physiological measurements,” Physiol. Meas., vol. 33, pp. 47-65, 2012 

[3] D. Waltisburg, B. Arnrich and G.Troster, “Sleep quality monitoring with the smart bed,” Pervasive Health, pp.211-227, 2014

[4] A.Narechania, I. Garić, I. Sen-Gupta, M. Macken, E. Gerard and S. Schuele, “Assessment of a quasi-piezoelectric mattress monitor as a detection system for generalized convulsions,” Elsevier, Vol. 28, pp. 172176, 2013

[5] M. Wong, E. Pickwell-MacPherson and T. Zhang, “Contactless and continuous monitoring of heart rate based on photoplethysmography on a mattress,” Physiol. Meas., vol. 31, pp. 1065–1074, 2010

[6] H. Aoki, Y. Takemura, K. Mimura, H. Aoki and M. Nakajima, “A noncontact and non-restricting respiration monitoring method for a sleeping person with a fiber-grating optical sensor,” Sleep Biol. Rhythms, pp. 249– 250, 2003

[7] H. Yoo, J. Yoo and L. Yan “Wireless fabric patch sensors for wearable healthcare,” Proc. IEEE Annu. Int. Conf. Eng., Med. Biol. Soc., Pp. 5254– 5257, 2010

[8] M. Alwan, E. Sifferlin, B. Turner, S. Kell, P. Brower, D. Mack, S. Dalal and R. Felder, “Impact of passive health status monitoring to care providers and payers in assisted living,” Telemed J E Health, vol. 3, June 2007, pp. 279-285

[9] M. Elliott and A. Coventry, “Critical care: the eight vital signs of patient monitoring,” British Journal of Nursing, vol. 21, pp. 621-625, 2012

[10] K. West, “Today's medical assistant” Elsevier, chapter 19, pp. 297-347, 2012

[11] J. Arrue and J. Zubia, “Plastic optical fibers: an introduction to their technological processes and applications,” Optical Fiber Technology, vol. 7, pp. 101-140, April 2001.  

[12] ICT Results, "New Plastic Optical Fiber Technology May Revolutionize High Speed Last-mile Communication Networks," ScienceDaily, 9 November 2009.

[13] L. Bilro, J. Oliveira, J. Pinto, and R.Nogueira, “A reliable low-cost wireless and wearable gait monitoring system based on a POF sensor,” Meas. Sci. Technol., vol. 22, pp. , 2011

[14] P. André, H. Varum, P. Antunes, L. Ferreira, and M.G Sousa, “Monitoring of the concrete curing process using plastic optical fibers,” Measurement, vol. 45, pp. 556–560, 2012

[15] K. Kuang, S. Quek, C. Koh, W. Cantwell, and P. Scully, “Plastic optical fibre sensors for structural healthmonitoring: a review of recent progress,” Journal of Sensors, pp. 1-13, 2009

[16] T. Giallorenzi, J. Bucaro, A. Dandridge and J. Cole, “Optical-fiber sensors challenge the competition: Resistance to corrosion and immunity to interference head the list of benefits in detecting stimuli ranging from pressure to magnetism,” IEEE, vol. 23, pp.44-50, 2012

[17] L. Bilro, N. Alberto, J. Pinto and R. Nogueira, “Optical sensors based on plastic fibers,” Sensors, vol. 2012, pp. 12184-12207, 2012

[18] K. Peters,  “Polymer optical fiber sensors-a review,” Smart Mater. Struct., vol. 20, pp.1-17, 2011 

[19] N. Harbach, “Fiber bragg gratings in polymer optical fibers,” PhD Theis, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2008

[20] R. Chandy, P. Scully and R. Morgan, “The design, development and performance characteristics of a fibre optic drag-force flow sensor,” Meas. Sci. Technol., vol.11, pp. 31-35, 2000

[21] M. Silva-López, A. Fender, W. MacPherson, J.Barton and J.Jones, “Strain and temperature sensitivity of a single-mode polymer optical fiber,” Optics Letters, vol. 30, (23),  pp. 3129-3131, 2005

[22] D. Field, “‘Respiratory care’. In: Principles and practice of high dependency nursing 2nd edn,” Bailliere Tindall, Edinburgh, (2006)

[23] S. Smith, J. Fraser, C. Plowright, L. Dennington, P. Seymour and G. Oliver “Nursing observations on ward patients – results of a five year audit,” Nurs .Times, vol. 104 (30), pp. 28–29, 2008

[24] N. Cooper, K. Forrest, P. Cramp, “Essential guide to acute care. 2nd edn,” BMJ Books, Oxford, 2006

[25] O. Ziemann, J. Krauser, P. Zamzow  W. Nicole, “POF handbook, optical short range transmission systems,” Berlin, Springer, Chapter 2, pp. 144, 2008.

[26] L. Renqiang, F. Zhuang, Z. Yanzheng, C. Qixin, and  W. Shuguo, “Operation principle of a bend enhanced curvature optical fiber sensor,” Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Beijing, China, pp. 1966-1971, 2006

[27] N. Nurgiyatna, C. Brown-Wilson, P. Fiadzomor, P. Scully and K. Ozanyan, “Characterisation of grooved plastic optical fibre sensor mat for deformation imaging: medical applications,” Conference Paper (POF 2011), Bilbao (Spain), 2011. 

[28] F. Li, N.Ahmed, “Vital sign sensor,” Dissertation, University of Manchester, 2013.

[29] M. Cretikos, Chen J, Hillman K, Bellomo R, Finfer S, Flabouris A, “The objective medical emergency team activation criteria: a case-control study. Resuscitation” vol. 73(1), pp. 62–72, 2007

[30] T. Moore, “‘Respiratory assessment’. In: Moore T, Woodrow P eds. High dependency nursing care: observation, intervention and support” Routledge, London, 2004.