Case Study: Development of Wearable Monitor Devices for BabyDevLab Research Program

Case Study published by Alpha Micro Components, under Battery technology , Components, Internet of Things (IoT), Product Design, Research (Technology)

The BabyDevLab Research Program at the University of East London has embarked on an innovative research project to study the interaction and synchronisation between mothers and their infants.


Harkwood Services, an independent consultancy, is proud to introduce the latest advancement in Wearable Monitor Devices for BabyDevLab research at the University of East London.

Founded in 2011, Harkwood Services Ltd originally offered independent AV and IT consultancy. In 2014, they expanded to provide custom electronics hardware and software design services.

Harkwood’s primary focus is on user interaction with systems, believing that understanding the user’s needs is the key to exploring appropriate technologies. This approach enables Harkwood to design solutions that are both innovative and optimal.

The BabyDevLab Research Program at the University of East London has embarked on an innovative research project to study the interaction and synchronisation between mothers and their infants.

To facilitate this research, they commissioned the development of a wearable monitoring device capable of capturing real-time, time-correlated data from various sensors.

The project required the creation of two identical monitors, one for the mother and one for the baby, which would record and store data on SD cards for subsequent psychological analysis.


The primary requirements for the wearable monitors included:

  • Sensor Data Collection: Real-time data capture from ECG, Actigraph, Angular Momentum, Tilt, Position (GPS), and proximity sensors with a 10cm resolution.
  • Audio and Video Recording: Continuous audio and camera recording capabilities.
  • Battery Life: Minimum of 12 hours of operation on a single charge, targeting use over 10-hour periods.
  • Data Storage: Reliable storage of all collected data on SD cards.


To meet these stringent requirements, the project incorporated the following key components:

  • u-blox SAM-M10Q: This high-performance GNSS module was chosen for its precision and reliability in position tracking, ensuring accurate data for the research.
  • 2000mAh Lithium Polymer Battery: Selected for its long-lasting power, this battery ensures the devices can operate continuously for the required duration.

Device Design and Integration:

  • Sensor Integration: The devices were equipped with multiple sensors to capture ECG, actigraphy, tilt, angular momentum and proximity data. The Actigraph and Tilt are derived from 3-axis accelerometer data with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), 3-axis gyroscope provides angular momentum data. The u-blox SAM-M10Q module was integrated to provide precise GPS positioning.
  • Audio and Video Recording: High-quality microphones and compact cameras were embedded in the devices to facilitate continuous recording of audio and visual data.  In addition to recording the audio, it also records the absolute sound level via an integral sound level meter (dB meter).  The recorded audio has dynamic gain, adjusting to the environment for optimal pickup.  The sound level meter measures the ambient sound level.
  • Power Management: The 2000mAh Lithium Polymer battery was incorporated to provide over 12 hours of uninterrupted operation, ensuring that the devices could meet the 10-hour usage goal with a significant margin.
  • Data Storage: SD card slots were included in the device design to store all captured data securely, allowing easy retrieval and analysis by the research team.


The committed work of Harkwood on this wearable monitors developed for BabyDevLab successfully met all project requirements, providing comprehensive and accurate data for their research into mother-infant interactions. Key achievements include:

Standard Precision and Accuracy: The integration of the u-blox SAM-M10Q module ensured that positional data was highly accurate, which is crucial for studying spatial relationships and movements.

Reliable Power Supply: The AMC-BATT-LP803962-RL01 battery provided the necessary power for over 12 hours, surpassing the minimum requirement and ensuring consistent data capture without interruptions.

Comprehensive Data Collection: The ability to record ECG, movement, tilt, proximity, audio, and video data in real-time allowed for a holistic view of the interactions between mother and child.

The data collected from these wearable devices has enabled BabyDevLab to gain valuable insights into the synchronization and interaction between parents and infants. This includes understanding how physical proximity, movement patterns, and physiological responses correlate with psychological and emotional states. Such insights are critical for developing interventions and support mechanisms that can enhance parent-child bonding and early childhood development.

Seeing the potential of such applications is truly amazing, showcasing how much can be accomplished in medical research and how much more we can do to benefit the world.

The collaboration between BabyDevLab and the technology providers for this wearable monitoring device has resulted in a successful implementation that advances the field of developmental psychology. The use of u-blox’s SAM-M10Q and the AMC-BATT-LP803962-RL01 battery was instrumental in achieving the project’s goals, providing a robust solution that ensures precise, reliable, and continuous data collection. This project underscores the potential of wearable technology in contributing to significant research and improving our understanding of human development.

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