This project research was done to build a device that is capable of recording the heart rate of an individual and sending that heart rate to the doctor. This research is aimed on making the process of recording heart rate less complicated and the device that will be developed during this research will try to meet the standards of a good heart rate monitor. It will be easy to use, sizable and light so it can be carried around during emergencies. The device is going to be very user friendly in the sense that there are no complicated buttons the individual just checks their heart rate and the system does the rest. This project will be used in the medical and health care department mostly, it will also be used in schools and homes. This project will help in the prevention of heart rate diseases in the sense that if an individual keeps tabs on his heart rate and is always in sync with is medical doctor, when an alteration in the heart rate is noticed or observed it is quickly dealt with before the issue becomes aggravated.

Table of Contents


Background to Study. 9

1.1         Introduction. 9

1.1.2          Microcontroller. 11

1.1.3          Heart rate measurement. 12

1.1.4          Fingertip reader or scanner. 12

1.2         Problem Statement. 13

1.3         Aim Objectives. 14

1.4         Methodology. 15

1.5         Scope of Study. 15

1.6         Significance of Study. 16

1.7         Limitations. 16

1.8         Project Organization. 16


2.1         Introduction. 17

Heart rate monitors. 17

History of heart rate monitors. 17

Microcontrollers. 19

Fingertip Sensors. 20

GSM interface Module. 21


The second article is Microcontroller Based Heart Rate Monitor using Fingertip Sensors by Sharief F. Babiker, Liena Elrayah Abdel-Khair, Samah M. Elbasheer. 25

The third project we will be looking at will be the Heart Rate Measurement Project, By Nusrat Hossain, Sadia Sharmin , Nabiha Nasir. 29

The forth project we will look at is the Heartbeat Monitoring and Alert System Using Gsm Technology, By Ufoaroh S.U, Oranugo C.O, Uchechukwu M.E 3. 35

And the last project we will be reviewing will be A Wrist Heart-Rate Monitor Using an Ultra-Low-Power MCU by Daniel Torres. 39

Overall conclusion: 44


3.1         INTRODUCTION.. 45


3.3         SYSTEM ANALYSIS. 45

3.3.1          DESIGN COMPONENTS. 45



3.4.1          HARDWARE REQUIRMENTS. 47     The use of the Pulse Sensor. 56

3.4.2          SOFTWARE REQUIRMENT. 59


4.1         INTRODUCTION.. 59

4.2         Block Diagram Circuit Design and Operation. 60

4.3        Coding platform.. 60

4.4         Connection Between ArduinoUno and display screen. 61

4.5        Communication with GSM Module. 63

4.6        Language Used. 64

4.7        Testing and Analysis. 75



5.1         OVERVEIW OF OUTCOME. 76

5.2         Discussions. 76

5.3         LIMITATIONS. 76

5.3         SUMMARY. 77



References. 79



Background to Study

In this chapter discussion of how the heart works will be treated and some important terms will be defined to help our description of the heart rate scanner device. Some important terms that will be defined are: Microcontroller, Heart rate and Fingertip reader or scanner.

1.1     Introduction

The heart is a vital part of the human body because it is from the heart acts as a mechanism that pumps blood to reach every nook and cranny of the human body the heart beats up to 100,000 times in a day.

The heart is divided into two sides and the dividing line is called the septum the right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, the left side then receives the oxygen rich blood gotten from the lungs and then pumps it to the rest of the body. The heart has four sides or chambers and also four valves these valves are connected to the different blood vessels. The blood vessels and veins carry blood from the body back to the heart while arteries help in the transportation of blood to the rest of the body.(Gary H. Gibbons, 2013). The heart is like a microprocessor in a computer it different blood platelets which are micro mini organisms which are created and destroyed every minute in the body are circulated round the body by the arteries and the veins within a particular time.

It is important to see how the heart beats, the atria and the ventricles work side by side, alternately contracting and relaxing pump blood. The part of the heart that makes this possible is the electrical system of the heart. The heartbeat is triggered by electrical impulses which travel down a special pathway through the heart. These electrical impulses starts in the small specialized cells which are called the sinoatrial node, it is located at the right atrium. The sinoatrial node is known as the hearts natural pacemaker. Electrical activity spreads through the walls of the atria and cause them to contract. A cluster of cells in the middle of the heart between the atria and ventricles the atrioventricular node acts like a gate that makes the electrical signal slow before it enters the ventricles. This delay allows the atria to have ample to contract before the ventricles contract. A pathway called the His-Purkinje network is a pathway of fibers that sends the impulse to the muscular walls of the ventricles, causing them to contract.

With the knowledge of how the heart beats it has been noted that when the body is at rest, a normal heart beats up to 50 – 99 times a minute. When partaking in exercise, having emotions, down with a fever and on medications the heart beats higher than normal that is over 100 beats per minute. (James Beckerman, 2016)

The heartbeat or pulse rate is one of the important vitals being checked in any health organization. Taking a pulse does not only measure the heart rate, but it also indicates the heart rhythm and the strength of the pulse with these measurements the doctors will be able to detect whether there is or is not an issue. The normal pulse of a healthy adult is ranges from 60 to 100 bpm. The pulse rate fluctuates, that is increases and increases depending on the activity being carried out or the body is at rest. It has been observed that females over the ages of 12 and above tend to have faster heart beats than males.

There are different ways of checking your pulse, one of the oldest and most conventional way of checking your pulse is to feel the beats by firmly pressing the arteries since blood is pumped out of the body through the arteries. Where the arteries can be felt or the pulse are at the side of the neck, the easiest is found at the wrist, inside your elbow.

Another way that was used for monitoring the heart rate was the electrocardiograph, this device was a galvanometric device that detects and records the minute differences in electric potential caused by heart action and occurring between different parts of the body. The electrocardiograph was used to detect heart diseases.

The new modern age monitors come in different types, for example the chest and wrist or even mobile phones like the SAMSUNG S6. From the first edition of plastic straps, water or liquid was required for the device to perform at an optimum level. Later on the units used have conductive smart fabric with microprocessors built into them these microprocessors analyze the electrocardiograph signal to determine the heart rate. Most recent devices use optics to measure the heartrate using infrared light. It works by an infrared light by an internal bulb, as the infrared light is absorbed by the blood, a sensor then measures how dark the infrared light is, if it is extremely dark due to the pulse causing a temporal increase in the amount of blood that is being carried through the measured area and that is counted as heart pulse.

Most of these products that read the important vitals of heart rate which can be called heart monitors are in the hospital or health facility. So any individual that wants to use the service has to go to the hospital or health facility and the other devices check vitals but do not give so much of a detailed review of your heart performance.

This project creates a bridge from client to doctor so clients can easily get detailed review from a professional on that individual’s heart performance

1.1.2 Microcontroller

A microcontroller which is also known as MCU, which stands for microcontroller unit is a computer system on a chip that is used to carry out executable task on mini systems and other mini devices.

The Microcontroller unit contains an integrated processor, memory and programmable input or output peripherals, which are used to interact with elements in the chip.

The microcontroller unit is very different from a microprocessor which only contains a Central Processing Unit (CPU). (Ganssle & Mike, 2012)

1.1.3  Heart rate measurement

Let us first define heart rate before discussing how it is measured. Heart rate is the speed of the heartbeat measured by the number of contractions of the heart per minute (bmp)

Heart rate varies according to different activities of the body. These activities include physical exercise, sleep, anxiety, stress, illness, and ingestion of drugs. These activities also influence the rate of absorption of oxygen and excretion of carbon dioxide which also influences the heart rate.(Amer, et al., 2014).

1.1.4  Fingertip reader or scanner

A fingerprint scanner is a technology that identifies and authenticates the fingerprints of an individual in order to grant or deny access to a computer system or a physical facility.

When the heart is beating, it pumps blood all through the body, this also changes the blood volume inside the finger artery. This fluctuation of blood can be detected through an optical sensing mechanism placed around the fingertip. The signal can be amplified further for the microcontroller to count the rate of fluctuation, which is actually the heart rate. The sensor unit consists of an infrared light-emitting-diode (IR LED) and a photo diode, placed side by side, and the fingertip is placed over the sensor assembly. The IR LED transmits an infrared light into the fingertip, a part of which is reflected back from the blood inside the finger arteries. The photo diode senses the portion of the light that is reflected back. The intensity of reflected light depends upon the blood volume inside the fingertip. So, every time the heart beats the amount of reflected infrared light changes, which can be detected by the photo diode. With a high gain amplifier, this little alteration in the amplitude of the reflected light can be converted into a pulse.(Rajbex, 2013)

This device is simply a device that supports communication between CPU board and external devices. This board can be used to send or receive messages which will be a big contribution to our project requirement for a client to be able to communicate the readings to a professional (Doctor), the GSM module will be very needed so this board is very important for the optimization of the project and overall performance.

1.2     Problem Statement

From the Electrocardiograph it shows the elaborate process it takes to get a heart rate reading the whole process of putting electrodes on different parts of the skin so it will be easy to detect the pulse from the various muscles the electrodes had been placed on, this process will take a long time. Though the electrocardiograph was created a long time ago but the idea is still welcomed. But all the new heart rate monitors being created which are generally merged to a microcontroller board, are still complex for some individuals to handle.(Laukkanen RMT, 1998) Looking at some of the reviews and research carried out based on the succession of this projects shows that most of the heart measuring devices have common issue which is the usability level of these devices, they are not user friendly. These devices have too many buttons on them without propel description of what each of them mean, which is technical giving the severity of information leveland education levelindividuals have.

Individual get to visit the hospitals because they can’t afford to go through the stress of using a complicated heart rate measurement device they bought already and getting to the hospital the procedures for registering at a health facility and seeing a medical officer are also time demanding which will force individuals that are really time conscious or impatient to tend to keep postponing their medical check-up because they will have to spend inconsiderable amount of time at the hospital.

Some other microcontroller heart rate monitoring devices are more technical or complicated to use considering the level of Knowledge of uneducated individuals.

Based on research on other projects the heart rate monitoring device has to use exactly one minute to get an accurate heart rate measurement which can be done at a faster rate considering time as a factor.

In others, projects the monitors made where made to just measure our heart beat, but individuals that are not medical practitioners or have no clue on how to read heart rate measurements will not be able to operate the device properly.

As seen therefore there is a great need to simplify heartrate monitoring devices so everyone would be able to use it so the rate of cardiovascular diseases drastically reduced.

1.3     Aim Objectives

This project, aim is to build a system that can monitor the heart rate of individuals and make usability of this heart rate measuring device simpler for uneducated individuals who seem to have issues measuring and reading their heart rate by themselves by providing a helper (the doctor) who will decipher the reading that was taken by the device and sent to the doctor for proper analysis and produce a more reader friendly report for the users.

The objectives of this project are:

  1. To design an algorithm that monitors the heartrate of an individual in thirty seconds.
  2. To review other works that are closely related to this project.

1.4     Methodology

There will be a fingertip sensor that will read the heart beat from the fingertip using an Infrared Light Emitting Diode (IR LED) for thirty seconds from an LED sensor which sends the data to the microcontroller that will now convert the readings from thirty seconds to one minute so the result given will be beat per minute(bpm). The result is then sent to the screen and when the send button is pressed a message will be sent to the medical professional whose details will be programmed inside the device.

1.5     Scope of Study

The project provides a user friendly method of measuring the heart beat even if the user is uneducated or educated he still gains help from a professional (doctor) who analysis the reading and provides a more understandable result.

The device produces result faster for further analysis.

This device captures and saves the reading at the particular time and sends it to a professional for proper analysis. It also provides three phases and a button:

Phase 1(up)- automatic send ON

Phase 2(middle)- OFF

Phase 3(down)- manual send ON.

It has one button on surface which is the send button.

This device supports a sim card that enables it send information from the reading to the professional analyst (the doctor).

The device will be an indoor device that will be used in homes, schools, hospitals, emergency health care, military facilities, charity health care tours.

1.6     Significance of Study

The rate at which people go to the hospital because of heart related illnesses and diseases are due to the fact that they do not have constant checkups because the closest center to get a checkup will take the individual out of his comfort zone. But with the thirty seconds microcontroller finger print scanner connecting user and doctor, individuals can prevent bad heart conditions by regular checkups from the comfort of their homes, offices and institutions.

1.7     Limitations

  • The project will need good network coverage or signal to connect to the doctor.

1.8     Project Organization

  • Abstract
  • Chapter one: Background study, problem statement, aims and objectives, research methodology, scope of study, and project organization.
  • Chapter two: Introduction, review of closely related topics conclusion on reviews
  • Chapter three: System Analysis and Design Methodology, Instruction, Block Diagram, Explanation of different components, how they will be used and what they will be used for.
  • Chapter four: System Implementation and Testing, explaining how the system works diagrammatically, limitations, outline of the different stages and challenges faced, manual.
  • Chapter five: Future Enhancement, Recommendation and conclusion.



2.1     Introduction

In this chapter the different terms and devices that will be used in the creation of the project and their evolution and technologies.

This chapter also consist of closely related works to the project (HEART RATE SCANNER DEVICE THAT CONNECTS TO THE DOCTOR). In this chapter we’ve reviewed other related project articles in other to know how to modify and make a more reliable Heart Rate measurement device (HRD). This review will guide us through the project implementation and it states the problems of other HRD, which enables us to make the right correction during out hardware implementation so as to provide a more reliable and efficient HRD    using the information we get to explain how we will go about our project

Heart rate monitors

Heart rate monitors as earlier mentioned are, personal monitoring device that allows the measurement of the heart rate in real time or. It is largely used by performers of various types of sport.

History of heart rate monitors

Early models of heart rate monitors consisted of a monitoring box with a set of electrode leads which attached to the chest. The first wireless Electrocardiograph (ECG) heart rate monitor was invented in 1977 by Seppo Säynäjäkangas, as a training aid for the Finnish National Cross Country Ski team. As ‘intensity training’ became a popular concept in athletic circles in the mid-80s, retail sales of wireless personal heart monitors started from 1983.

The electrocardiograph machine consists of a Lippmann capillary electrometer fixed to a projector. The trace from the heartbeat was projected onto a photographic plate that was itself fixed to a toy train. This allowed a heartbeat to be recorded in real time. This electrocardiograph machine was created by Augustus Waller, of St Mary’s Hospital in London. (Rivera-Ruiz M, 29 September 1927)

An early breakthrough came when Willem Einthoven, working in Leiden, the Netherlands, used the string galvanometer (the first practical electrocardiograph) that he invented in 1901. This device was much more sensitive than both the capillary electrometer Waller used and the string galvanometer that had been invented separately in 1897 by the French engineer Clément Ader..

Soon after the invention of the ECG, the Holter monitor was developed. These monitor is a portable ECG capable of making a continuous tape recording of an individual’s ECG for 24 hours. (Interwoven, 1901)

1980’s was when the first wireless heart rate monitor was developed, consisting of a transmitter and a receiver, the transmitter will be attached to the chest using either disposable electrodes or an elastic electrode belt. The receiver was a watch like monitor worn on the wrist.(Laukkanen RMT, 1998)

Though the basic principles of that era are still in use today, many advances in electrocardiography have been made over the years. Instrumentation has evolved from a cumbersome laboratory apparatus to compact electronic systems that often include computerized interpretation of the electrocardiogram.(Mark, 1998).

In the 20 years after the development of the first heart rate monitor, Heart rate monitors have been developed with larger memory capacity. This allows for storage of heart rate data can be downloaded into a computer, which makes analysis of the heart rate measurement possible.

(Juul Achten, 2003)



Microcontroller as earlier discussed is a small computer on a single integrated circuit Microcontrollers can be used in devices which can be automatically controlled, some of these devices are; automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, toys and some other embedded systems. By reducing the size and minimizing the cost compared to a design that uses an isolated microprocessor, memory, and input/output devices, microcontrollers make it efficient to digitally control a lot of devices and processes.

To allow a microcontroller perform the necessary actions it is required to carry out, microcontroller programs are used. Micro-controller programs should fit in the available location on the on-chip memory, since it would be expensive to use a system with external, expandable memory. The Compilers and assemblers can be used to convert both high-level and assembly language codes into a compact machine code for storage in the micro-controller’s memory these codes are the codes that are used as commands to tell the microcontroller system what to do and what not to do. Liable to the device being used, the program memory may be permanent, read-only memory which can only be programmed at th