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I-Health: How intelligent electronics improve our quality of life, Part 1

Smart electronics systems, whether worn on our wrist to help maintain a healthy lifestyle, used in our homes to adjust heating and cooling, or built into our car to assist driving, have already shown their ability to improve the quality of our lives.

Can you imagine a smart system that helps you wake and fall asleep, independent of the time or brightness of your room? Recent studies have shown that human metabolism is positively influenced by light (see Figure1). We know how difficult it is to get out of bed before sunrise. Could a smart electronics setup, using an electronic smart lamp make waking up easier?

A smart solution would regulate circadian cycles by emulating sunlight. It could produce a “cold” (blue) light to energize human biorhythms in the morning hours, and produce “warm” (yellow/red) light during the evening to slow us down and encourage rest.

Figure 1

Studies show light influences human circadian rhythms and, more specifically, effects the production of the melatonin substance that impacts many biologic functions of the human body (source: YouTube.com)

Studies show light influences human circadian rhythms and, more specifically, effects the production of the melatonin substance that impacts many biologic functions of the human body (source: YouTube.com)

Regulating the temperature of light emitted by a smart lamp can be controlled using an electronic processor capable of turning on the appropriate row of LED lights, depending on the ambient light condition or when a person needs to wake or sleep.

This finding opens interesting opportunities for semiconductor companies to produce LED-drive ICs and integrated microprocessors (see Figure 2)

Figure 2

The block diagram of the STPIC6D595 - an integrated shift register for LED driving applications (source: STMicroelectronics web catalog)

The block diagram of the STPIC6D595 – an integrated shift register for LED driving applications (source: STMicroelectronics web catalog)

Why not use a cluster of red, green, blue and white LEDs to create a light source that could calm down a fussy baby or soothe the restless mind of a meditation practitioner? A lighted shower to help even the most confirmed late sleeper wake up? Could light intensity and hue affect creativity? Would a conventional, stand-alone, interrupt-driven MCU be fast enough to ensure a smooth transition between light intensities and hues? Would a special-purpose controller, like the STLUX385A work or would you need a high-speed MCU, such as the STM32 ?

Furthermore, the regulation of the light temperature might be manual, by a click on the light switch of a room, or initiated by a smart device, which would be a valuable option. Using a smart interface option, the input and output signal data of the lamp could be transmitted via Wi-Fi to a smartphone or tablet through a dedicated app, allowing the user to fine-tune the timing and quality of light that presents the best results—a solution compatible with other cutting-edge IoT (Internet of Things) technology (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

The Smart lamp might be connected to a smart device and managed by a dedicated app.

The Smart lamp might be connected to a smart device and managed by a dedicated app.

This IoT platform could also spur other applications. If interfaced with the smart-lamp app and a meteorological app, it could gather the weather conditions of the environment external to a house and dim or brighten lights dynamically to adapt the home’s lighting system to the user’s needs and desires while accounting for the weather and time of day.

Can you imagine walking into your home on a cold winter’s evening to find the lighting set to a warm day on the beach in Sicily? That would allow you to relax from the stresses of the day — until it becomes closer to the end of the night when the lighting dims to a moonlit ambiance and you drift off into a healthy night-long slumber.

In my next post, I’ll discuss a smart glasses project that offers a way to dramatically improve a person’s vision in a dynamic and innovative way.

2 comments on “I-Health: How intelligent electronics improve our quality of life, Part 1

  1. etnapowers
    September 23, 2015

    The smart electronic systems have great potentialities because of their great diffusion, furthermore with the introduction of the IOT technology, the electronics holds great promises of improving deeply our lives.

  2. etnapowers
    September 24, 2015

    The usage of an electronic processor to control the ambiental conditions of a domestic environment is very valuable because it applies to many aspects of our daily life and an optimal condition could be reached to ensure an healthy domestic environment.

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