Embedded Wireless Data Acquisition System

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Virginia Tech

The Wake Forest University Physiology/Pharmacology (WFU Phys./Pharm.) electrophysiology research labs currently carry out memory research by recording neural signals from laboratory animals tethered to nearby signal conditioning and recording equipment. A wireless neural signal recording system is desirable because it removes the cumbersome wires from the animal, allowing it to roam more freely. The result is an animal that is more able to behave as it would in its natural habitat, thus opening the possibility of testing procedures that are not possible with wired recording systems.

Sampling rates obtained by conventional RF wireless systems tend to be very low (800Hz) since the bandwidth of these RF wireless systems is low. This is because interfacing methods (RS-232) needed to develop RF systems are slow (57.6Kbps). Another shortcoming of RF systems is the high power consumption. This thesis presents development of embedded wireless system to replace wired systems. RF wireless system is developed to replace wired electrophysiology system. An infrared wireless system development is discussed to achieve higher sampling rates unachievable by RF wireless system. Infrared operate at data rates 4Mbps and high sampling rates can be achieved. For this thesis, Infrared system is interfaced to microcontroller using ISA interface. ISA bus is chosen as it operates (at rate of 8Mbytes/sec) faster than RS-232 and easy to program compared to other buses such as PCI. Also, Infrared systems consume low power than RF systems. Power consumption is an important consideration as application in hand is battery powered.

data acquisition, embedded, wireless