Home Care Automation

Completely Automated Multi-Functional Home Care System

Published on July 5, 2017

Introduction

A security/access control product company approached us to develop a ‘multifunctional’ console for home care automation with all feasible options.

The device will act as user friendly access point to a complete eco-system of home care oriented services. It provides visual and intercom connections that enable immediate contact with the patient. Not only does it register the patient’s telephone use, it can also be used by the patient as TV, radio, diary, internet etc.

The bedside terminal helps the care giver to correctly report on the patient’s health. It also facilitates staff management and planning. Moreover, it performs environment monitoring and acts according to the situation.

Challenges

We had to integrate many peripherals to support multi-functional use cases.

  • Entrance control:
    • RF Communication Network
  • Connectivity:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • WiFi and BT
    • 4G
  • Monitoring:
    • Temperature, Humidity and pressure sensor
    • Ambient light and proximity sensor
    • Air quality sensor
    • Accelerometer/Gyroscope
  • Audio & video:
    • 7″ and 12″ LVDS LCD Display
    • HDMI
    • Camera
    • Video call
    • Speaker Out and Mic IN
iMX6 development board
Ankaa – eSOMiMX6 Development Board
eSOMiMX6 Datasheet | Ankaa Documents

Playing online videos (using YouTube) and offline videos on Chromium browser with optimum CPU load.

Audio routing between 4G, Bluetooth and application processor

Approach

Unanimously, It was decided that the feature rich and powerful NXP iMX6 based eSOMiMX6 was the right SOM for product development. Some features were implemented using external Hardware support too. e-con Systems team started Product Architecture definition based on it’s iMX6 System on Module – eSOMiMX6 and the devices were selected to support all the functional features. Customer was interested to use Linux operating systems and run his application on browser.

The first challenge was to run online videos (using YouTube) and offline videos on Chromium browser with optimum CPU load. Initially, we faced the following challenges

  • Video playback was not smooth
  • CPU load was almost 100% when video file was played in Chromium browser

e-con team worked on these issues, we noticed the following

  • GPU was not utilized by Chromium browser when playing back video
  • VPU was not utilized when playing video files
  • Due to non-utilization of GPU and VPU, CPU load increased to max 100%

e-con team identified that by default the chromium browser doesn’t use GPU unit for Hardware acceleration. A patch was applied to chromium browser to use GPU unit for Hardware acceleration.

The next major challenge was to define audio routing architecture. The 4G module supports PCM based audio codec for audio out and MIC IN. e-con team identified an audio codec part and developed special software driver to support audio interface and audio path routing between audio application from iMX6 processor, Bluetooth audio interface and 4G audio path.

After major technical challenges were overcome, e-con systems team interacted with customer’s mechanical team to finalize the board outline and thermal design. As e-con team has years of vast design expertise, it completed board-bring up smoothly and delivered the product well within the time schedule.

Conclusion

Our customer was very much satisfied with the product delivered and the exemplary support rendered after delivery. They were very happy with the realization of a truly ‘multifunctional’ platform and the flexible options provided in the software for their application customization.

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