BITalino is designed for anyone interested in building self-tracking applications based on information from your body.
BITalino is designed for anyone interested in building self-tracking applications based on information from your body. Read more
About this project
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BITalino is a low-cost, purpose-built, all-in-one hardware and software toolkit designed for quick and easy creation of cool projects with body signals, development of quantified self wearable devices or apps, and/or learning how to build medical devices. Comparative professional-grade tools for this purpose can easily cost in excess of $10,000; our vision is to make them available for anyone, and harness the power and creative thinking of the open-source movement to boost innovation in biosignal-based applications in unprecedented ways.
Out-of-the-box, BITalino provides a set of versatile, Arduino-compatible software and hardware blocks with sensors for Electrocardiography (ECG), Electromyography (EMG), Electrodermal Activity (EDA), Accelerometry (ACC), and Ambient Light (LUX), including Bluetooth Low Energy wireless communication to a software toolkit to see the signals in real time or replay offline. What’s next? Ever since we launched, our dream has been to make BITalino more affordable, more capable, and packed with much-sought features our amazing community has been asking for. Your pledge will help us trigger a true BITalino (r)evolution!
Body signals have hundreds of applications; assistive technologies for people with disabilities, biofeedback for stroke and muscle disorders rehabilitation, or self-management of psychological disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD) are just a few examples. Still, BITalino is an unique DiY toolkit, which can be used by virtually anyone interested in creating projects ranging from muscle activated air drones to heart-rate monitoring bicycle handlebars, smart / enchanted objects, interactive installations, or affordable medical devices and personal diagnostics apps.
By supporting our Kickstarter campaign, you can potentially be contributing to revolutionise healthcare and biomedical engineering around the world. BITalino has grown to become the platform of choice for hundreds of people worldwide already, but it wasn’t designed with financial profits in mind, hence the reason we need your help now.
- Makers: Whether you’re looking for the next challenge or invention, or seeking to enhance an existing prototype, BITalino can open new and exciting pathways for your work.
- Students: Pursuing a degree in areas related with body signals (e.g. medical, biomedical, psychophysiology)? Looking for a forward-thinking engineering or computer science project? Then BITalino is the right tool for you!
- Developers: Want to do quick and easy prototyping of wellbeing and quality of life wearable devices or apps? BITalino can greatly help you in cutting development costs and time.
- Professors: Enrich your lab activities and student projects with BITalino; the modular hardware and software, makes it a convenient personal companion for your students, and the ideal tool to demonstrate theoretical concepts in practice.
- Researchers: Looking to quickly validate hypothesis, jumpstart your research on a budget, or collect data on dozens of users at once? BITalino can definitely give you a hand.
- Quantified-Selfers: If you’d like to learn more about your body, keep track of your vitals, or create an affordable medical device, BITalino provides you professional-grade quality at DiY costs.
Over the past year we proved the potential of BITalino, which is perfectly tried and tested and have sold over 1200 units; now we would like to take it to the next level. Our goal is to empower more people to learn, prototype, and build innovative projects with sensors for body signals acquisition both for serious and quirky applications alike. Any help counts and here’s what we can accomplish with you as our backer:
BITalino (r)evolution kits: That’s right… our signature hardware base will be fully redesigned to have an incredibly smaller form factor, improved signal quality, Bluetooth Low Energy, digital-to-analog control, reprogrammable firmware, SPI interface for enhanced expansibility, and many other cool features. As before, it will come in the BOARD, FREESTYLE, and PLUGGED flavour, but this time even more affordable!
- Application-specific boards: Can’t find a use for all of the sensors bundled with the kit? Not a problem anymore… make a pledge to us and we’ll create a series of simpler and more affordable application-specific kits, namely, HeartBIT (1x ECG + 1x BVP), MuscleBIT (1x EMG + 1x ACC), ArousalBIT (1x EDA + 1x BVP), MotionBIT (1x ACC + 1x MAG), BrainBIT (2x EEG), FlowerBIT (1x LUX + 1x TMP + 1x IMP).
- Blocks available as individual components: Until now we haven’t been able to make the different blocks available as individual components. Back us up and we’ll be able to support the production setup costs needed to make batches with the sensor blocks and peripherals found on BITalino (and on the application-specific boards), enabling us to provide them as individual components.
- Additional sensors: Users have seen what we can do, and now they’re asking for more; with your help, we’ll be able to expand the possibilities of BITalino with additional sensors. Electroencephalography (EEG), Respiration (RSP), Blood Volume Pulse (BVP), Skin Temperature (TMP), Force (FSR), Load Cells, and many others.
- Improved cable quality: BITalino is completely rooted in DiY; for that, in the original version we focused on using cables and plugs that would be easily available for anyone, which have shown to have tradeoffs in terms of signal quality and robustness. BITalino (r)evolution will provide you the same DiY capabilities as our previous unit, with the advantage of offering professional-grade plugs and cables as a standard as well.
- Memory card accessory: The ability to roam around freely while recording your data for later inspection is an all time favorite… up until now you’d need either a computer or smartphone to log your BITalino data. By backing us, you will be contributing to the development of an accessory interchangeable with the Bluetooth module, that has the ability to log the data collected by your BITalino and control it as well.
Galvanically isolated USB: So,
you’re one of those people who would rather hook up a BITalino to a USB port
rather than dealing with all the battery recharging fuss. The thing is that our
computers are often either directly or indirectly connected to a mains. Most
devices, and in particular the USB, have a few built-in safety features,
however there’s nothing like removing any electrical connection between the
BITalino and any other circuits. With your help, we’ll be able to create an
accessory just for that.
- Printoo paper-thin flexible technology: You know all too well how stiff PCBs and body curves don’t always add up, and that’s where your pledge come in... BIG TIME! We’ve teamed up with our friends at Printoo to make both platforms compatible, but with your help, we can crank it up to outer space by creating a production version of BITalino based on Printoo’s paper-thin, flexible technology! You’ve read it well… all the BITalino (r)evolution coolness, in an awesome bendable, twistable, and anatomical form factor. Printoo mentioned in their Kickstarter campaign that it would be possible… we are making it happen!
The latest global trends such as the affordable care act from the Obama administration are geared towards making healthcare more accessible for everyone, and towards putting the users back in charge of their healthcare. Technology is a keystone in such change, and our vision is to make BITalino and the DiY body signals community unavoidable references by seeking to make body signals more affordable and accessible to the world.
The MakerNurse initiative led by MIT’s Little Devices Lab is one compelling example of this vision. Our goal with BITalino is to get this expertise out of the hands of a few medical device companies and use your pledge to empower millions of students, researchers, makers and developers around the world. By providing low-cost, open-source, and easy-to-use hardware and software tools, more people will be able to learn and build novel applications using body signals, contributing to the creation of next-generation quantified self devices and applications.
To top it all up, BITalino is on the epicentre of the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) movement. Imagine how having BITalino in classrooms can contribute to gear young minds all around the world towards finding novel and innovative ways of addressing prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions. BITalino gathers the features and functionalities we would like to have had during our education; your support will help us make these technologies more accessible for youth everywhere.
Moreover, we believe that there are other options beyond wearables, and BITalino has also been positively contributing to transition to a new generation of body signals acquisition technologies that are embedded into your surrounding environment. Some people call these “enchanted objects”, others call them“anti-wearables”; the truth is that BITalino is enabling the creation of things like heart rate monitoring bicycle handlebars (as previously shown) and other devices alike. Whether you’re into wearables or anti-wearables, BITalino is the right tool for you.
Research-grade body signal acquisition equipment is typically very cumbersome, prohibitively expensive, and with proprietary algorithms and hardware designs. On the other end of the price spectrum you either find affordable devices designed for leisure and quality of life applications but with fixed and unadaptable features and form factors, or DiY projects with a high overhead in terms of electrical engineering and programming skills.
BITalino brings research-grade technologies to the masses, in the form of a complete DiY hardware and software toolkit accessible to any skill set, and that can be used for prototyping of wearable and quantified self applications in unprecedented ways. This is one kit with a world of possibilities... just take a look at some of the things you can do:
… but there’s more!
- BITalino is community-driven: One of the strengths of BITalino is the vibrant community; from box designs for 3D printing, to accessories and APIs, this project is bringing together people around body signals. With your pledge we’ll be able to take this BITalino (r)evolution even further
- BITalino gives power to the people: With it’s a convenient all-in-one modular design, BITalino was already in a league of its own, by providing seamless access to tools that typically come with a hefty price tag! Back us, and your contribution will be used to make BITalino even more affordable both as a kit and through the application-specific boards.
- BITalino lets your imagination set the limit: Each individual block can be snapped off and easily combined to prototype anything. You can connect other sensors or interfaces, including your own custom designs.
- BITalino has an open-source friendly design: The hardware uses standard interfaces (UART, Bluetooth, SPI, ...); our software is open-source and fully supported by web-based technologies for maximum flexibility (HTML, CSS, JS).
BITalino has two main components; the hardware and the software. Below is the main technical information for the full-spec kit:
Sampling Rate: up to 1000Hz
Analog Inputs: 4 @ 10-bit + 2 @ 6-bit + 1 @ 6-bit dedicated to the battery level
Analog Outputs: 1 @ 8-bit
Digital Ports: 4 @ 1-bit
Sensors: EMG + ECG + EDA + ACC + LUX (interchangeable and expandable with future sensors)
Actuators: LED + PWM driver
Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy (interchangeable with other interfaces)
Interfaces: UART + SPI
Battery: 500mAh 3.7V LiPo single cell (interchangeable with higher capacity alternatives)
Weight: 20 g
Size: 60 mm x 50 mm
Launch: We embark on a global BITalino (r)evolution to take the creation of wearables, quantified self apps, or medical devices to the next level
$50K: This is our primary goal... back us and help make the BITalino (r)evolution kits, Application-specific boards, Blocks available as individual components, and Improved cabling.
$75K: Help us go beyond our 1st stretch goal, and you’ll enable the release of the Memory card accessory, Additional sensors, Body signal processing algorithms, and Learning materials.
$100K: Show your love by helping us reach our 2nd stretch goal, and you’ll be making BITalino history by enabling us to create a version in Printoo’s Arduino based paper-thin flexible technology, as well as a Galvanically isolated USB accessory.
Do-it-yourself (DiY) hardware toolkits have created a global revolution in the way that digital interfaces interact with the physical world. From twitter-controlled Christmas trees to bicycle jacket turn signal lights, this movement is driving endless innovations and stimulating an age of creative engineering and innovative disruption. “Body signals” largely remain unexplored within this domain… at least with the attention and focused effort we believe they deserve.
BITalino seeks to extend the principles of physical computing to the domain of body signals, and forever change the way projects and applications in this space are made. The team behind the project has a combined total of 60+ years of experience in the field of body signal hardware and software tools, together with an extensive track record in the successful launch of award-winning products in the professional segment (e.g. physioplux and ergoplux).
BITalino (r)evolution is the brainchild of PLUX - Wireless Biosignals, S.A. and joint work with IT - Instituto de Telecomunicações. Established in 2007, PLUX is a multidisciplinary company specialised in creating innovative biomedical hardware and software technologies for healthcare and research professionals. Established in 2003, IT is a private, non-profit organisation of public interest, and a leading scientific research center in the field of telecommunications.
We felt it was time to give something back to the community with the purpose of unleashing a creative (r)evolution in body signal acquisition and processing technologies, and we have the electrical engineering, computer science, biomedical, and management background needed to make this a successful project.
By pledging for us you too can join our mission and give back to the community.
Hugo Silva, MSc in Electrical Engineering and innovation wizard with 10+ years of professional experience in biomedical systems design and engineering.
Gregory Stern, BSc in Computer Science with 15+ years of professional experience in product management, and operations in healthcare and medical device companies.
João Silva, MSc in Graphic Design and advertising design with 10+ years of professional experience designing for printed and digital media, corporate identities and branding.
Michael Day, A Lean Startup Advocate with 15+ years of professional international business development and marketing experience working with health, medical device and Internet software, startups and SMEs.
Paulo Aires, BSc in Electrical Engineering and production expert with 10+ years of professional experience in assembly and supply chain management of biomedical devices
Pedro Gonçalves, MSc in Biomedical Engineering, Clinical Informatics and Bioinformatics with 2 years of professional engineering and development experience in research and biomedical devices.
Risks and challenges
SUPPLY CHAIN & PRODUCTION SCALE-UP
We've greatly streamlined our production pipeline and supply chain, however, we may experience delays and longer lead times by our suppliers. In the past we have experienced issues related with misinterpretation of our instructions by our suppliers or lack of capacity for production in volume; although it is unlikely, it can happen again.
As we progress through the final stages of development, the BITalino team may face challenges that exceed our original effort estimates or design constraints that delay or prevent some of the features from coming to fruition in our original time frame estimates. Given the experience of the team however, we don’t expect this to be the case.
Should we reach our stretch goals, we will create a flexible version of BITalino. We have been working with Printoo for prototyping this version, however, given that this is a resource-intensive process, only in the months following the campaign we’ll be able to undergo extensive testing and sourcing, which may lead to delays.
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