A three dimensional surface measurement and reconstruction system for respiratory function analysis
Respiration is a complex activity. If the relationship between all neurological and skeletomuscular interactions was perfectly understood, an accurate dynamic model of the respiratory system could be developed and the interaction between different inputs and outputs could be investigated in a straightforward fashion. Unfortunately, this is not the case and does not appear to be viable at this time. In addition, the provision of appropriate sensor signals for such a model would be a considerable invasive task. Useful quantitative information with respect to respiratory performance can be gained from non-invasive monitoring of chest and abdomen motion. Currently available devices are not well suited in application for spirometric measurement for ambulatory monitoring. A sensor matrix measurement technique is investigated to identify suitable sensing elements with which to base an upper body surface measurement device that monitors respiration. This thesis is divided into two main areas of investigation; model based and geometrical based surface plethysmography. In the first instance, chapter 2 deals with an array of tactile sensors that are used as progression of existing and previously investigated volumetric measurement schemes based on models of respiration. Chapter 3 details a non-model based geometrical approach to surface (and hence volumetric) profile measurement. Later sections of the thesis concentrate upon the development of a functioning prototype sensor array. To broaden the application area the study has been conducted as it would be fore a generically configured sensor array. In experimental form the system performance on group estimation compares favourably with existing system on volumetric performance. In addition provides continuous transient measurement of respiratory motion within an acceptable accuracy using approximately 20 sensing elements. Because of the potential size and complexity of the system it is possible to deploy it as a fully mobile ambulatory monitoring device, which may be used outside of the laboratory. It provides a means by which to isolate coupled physiological functions and thus allows individual contributions to be analysed separately. Thus facilitating greater understanding of respiratory physiology and diagnostic capabilities. The outcome of the study is the basis for a three-dimensional surface contour sensing system that is suitable for respiratory function monitoring and has the prospect with future development to be incorporated into a garment based clinical tool.