BITalino – a low-cost, easy to use bio wearable developer kit

Portuguese developers are Kickstarter funding a new bio sensor development kit.

BITalino is a system designed to enable makers to create projects using body signals and develop wearable devices. The developers wanted the tools to be cheap and allow access for anyone who wanted to build a sensor / response mechanism.

The team of Portuguese developers have one large board that encompasses all of the body sensors or can split the application into heart, muscle, arousal or motion sensors. The Arduino compatible software can track electriocardiography (ECG), electromyography (EMG), electrodermal activity (EDA), accelerometry (ACC), and ambient light (LUX) with Bluetooth Low Energy communication.

The overall goal of the project is to help develop biomedical engineering tools and healthcare devices. Several examples are shown in the video, all using sensors and response mechanisms to give data to users.

The boards can sample at a rate up to 1000Hz. Six analog inputs are available to the user (one input controls the battery), with one output and four digital ports. Boards weigh approximately 20 grams with a 60 millimeter by 50 millimeter footprint.

Several platforms are targeted to allow the most development possible, including Android, Arduino, C++, Java, LabView, MATLAB, Python, RaspberryPi, and Unity 3D. Some different examples are shown on the developer site with Android being the main development platform used to this date.

User examples really sell the BITalino throughout the Kickstarter video. A Florida State professor discusses the way the boards have been used in his classes. An observer watches a surfer and takes data about the duration of his activity, body temperature, and heart rate. A patient with ALS controls a keyboard with the motions in her cheek muscles.

$50,000 is being sought through this Kickstarter campaign. The money will go to refining the form of the boards, improving open source capabilities, improving signal quality, and other development fixes. Shipment of backer rewards is expected to begin in May 2015.