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Everyday problems: How UNIZiK offers simple solutions — Dr Stephen Ufoaroh

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By Ebele Orakpo

Dr Stephen Ufoaroh

Peter Ferdinand Drucker  an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author once made the famous quote: ‘Innovate or die.’ This is very true in this age of rapid technological advancements including Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Any nation that fails to move with the times, would, for sure, be consigned to the dustbin of history.

 Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind and so the nation’s institutions of higher learning are working very hard to help the nation move with the times. In this chat with Vanguard, Engr. (Dr) Stephen Ufoaroh speaks on some of the projects completed by the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering,Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Excerpts:

IOT-based patient monitoring system

The IOT-based patient monotoring system is designed to monitor patient’s vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. This kind of  monitoring devices that display the patient’s vital signs are commonly present in the critical care units in operating rooms .

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This system employs sensors such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate sensors to provide an accurate value of the patient’s vital signs.

The incorporation of Internet of Things, IoT, makes it possible to remotely update the status to the remote server continuously so that the doctors would not need to check up their patient personally. A web-based server is used and upon connection of the wireless module to an access point, the data is transmitted serially to the web page or cloud.

The collected sensor data contains information indicating the patient’s blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. A graphical interface is designed to show real time plots of the measure parameters. If any parameter goes abnormal, the system will automatically send an alert message to the doctors and relatives to take the necessary actions.

This IOT-based health monitoring system is provided with centralized storage and processing of data collected from various locations (no boundaries as long as connectivity to internet is available ) which  increases the convenience of data management.

Smart Waste Management System

The smart waste management system is designed to monitor the amount of waste contained in a waste bin. A threshold is set for the amount of waste the container would hold. The system automatically opens the moment someone comes close to the waste bin so as to enable the person to cast in the waste. Once the waste is cast into the waste bin, the waste bin closes automatically.

As waste is being thrown into the waste bin, it will keep accommodating the waste until it gets to the set threshold at which point the system will stop opening and won’t allow further intake of waste.

The system sounds an alarm to inform the person that the garbage bin is filled.

The system is also designed to automatically send a message to an authorised person to come and collect the garbage from the particular area.

This would also enable the authorised person to notify the waste management agency of the need to come and clear the garbage in the area.  This will help to reduce the overflow of the garbage bin and thus keep the environment clean.

Students’ Trainer Kit

The trainer is designed to serve as an aid for students in carrying out electronic practicals. The model designed has three main parts namely: breadboard for applied experiments, PIC microcontroller simulator, and an inter-facing board to a computer. The trainer is powered by a 9VDC battery source.

The main circuit connecting the board in standalone form contains the following parts: Passive Infra Red (PIR) Sensor, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Seven segment display, Switches, LEDs,etc. The system contains ports to transfer instructions written in the programming environment to the onboard PIC microcontroller. The PIC simulator is supplied 5VDC from the battery and then connected to the USB cable through a PC. The experiment software is installed on-board via USB through the PIC simulator.

Solar-powered Pure Sine Wave Inverter

This project presents a solar and battery-powered pure sine wave DC-AC inverter that supplies 230VAC at 50 Hz. The design is based on the oscillator chip – SG 3524 and employs a ferrite core transformer which has been designed according to the requirements. The PWM signal which are generated for the MOSFETs driver was constructed using the IR2110 and LM 339. The PWM signals are run into the MOSFET drivers that perform level translation to drive four N-channel MOSFETs in an H-Bridge configuration. The signal is sent through a low-pass LC filter so that the output delivers a pure sine wave. About four solar panels (each of 320 Watts) are cascaded to supply the energy source for the system. The inverter capacity is 2.5KVA and runs on a 24V battery system. The solar panels helps in charging the battery pack.

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