Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Electronic Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. John Barrett


This thesis addresses the design, development and testing of a wireless sensor network for a sports helmet. The objective is to monitor an athlete's physiology and also physical impacts using a sensor network. A detailed literature review is presented addressing currently available appropriate wireless technologies, sensors and their operation, packaging, interconnections and applications. It gives a brief introduction to each sensor used in the smart helmet, accelerometers, temperature sensors, heart rate and blood oxygen sensors, along with a review of possible sensors which could be added at a later stage. The specific sensors and other related components for the helmets are reviewed also. The selection of the best microcontroller and the most suitable transceiver and also the system analysis for the application are addressed. The design and development of a number of generations of the sensor network are described including the programming of the microcontroller and the transceiver. The positioning of the sensors in the helmet along with the connectivity of each is introduced. Data acquisition and display is reviewed, from the initial Hyperterminal to the final Labview program. The display and monitoring programs, the actual working wireless monitoring system and the area of data acquisition for signals, such as, heart rates, blood oxygen levels, impacts, motion and temperature are described. Finally, the testing of the final version of the sensor network which includes results of range, accuracy, reliability (drop impact, mechanical shock, vibration) and usability are presented.

Access Level