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TRC3500 Laboratory Report 3


Meng H CHANG 23426896
Tan Phong ME 24136905
Sean Malikides 24182281
A heart rate monitor is a very useful device used in the medical industry. It can be used
measure the heart pulse rate and determine the health of a patient. It is also widely used
by various physical exercise performers. In this experiment, we are to design and test a
heart rate monitor which includes sensor head, noise filter, amplifier and the signal will
be fed into oscilloscope to observe the effects after each stage of transformation of the
signal. The concepts of using sensing head, signal amplification and filtering will be
discussed and analysed.

Soldering iron
Hook-up wire
5V supply
Prototyping plug board
The following components will be available for you to use in your design:
LM324 quad operational amplifier (data sheets available on-line).
Red LED (High brightness)
CdS photocell
Plastic block to hold the LED and photocell
A green LED
74HC14 Hex Schmitt inverter
Restricted range of W resistors and electrolytic capacitors

A sensing head is built using a plastic block which holds LDR and LED. It is then
connected to the board. This is where the input signal (pulse from finger) is fed into
the circuit. Normal human heart rate is between 60-100 bits per minute which is
equivalent to 1Hz-1.4Hz. This is what we are expect to see on the oscilloscope
when we test the sensing head.

The signal from the sensor head must be amplified to a level that it can drive Schmitt
inverter. The noise is suppressed using an active high pass filter so that it will not
interfere with the circuit operation. To be able to visual the pulse, a green LED is
connected from the Schmitt trigger as a pulse indicator.
Light Dependant Resistor:

A light dependant resistor, or Cds Photocell is an electrical component that changes its
electrical resistance as a result of a changing light intensity. The component is made of a
high resistance semiconductor material which has the ability to vary in resistance when
photons are absorbed.

74HC14 Hex Schmitt inverter:

The operating voltage range 2v-6v.
Figure 1
Figure 2

Heart Rate:

A heart rate is a measure of the frequency of the contractions of the heart, usually
measured in the number of beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate can be
anywhere from 50 to 100 BPM which equates to a frequency range from 0.83Hz to
1.67Hz. Every time the heart beats capillaries in the finger expand and contract,
resulting in a change of reflectivity of the finger surface.
Design Process

To begin, a method of using the change in resistance of the LDR (Light Dependant
Resistor) to produce changing output voltage was designed. This was done so by
means of a simple voltage divider configuration. The constant resistance value in this
configuration was chosen to be similar to the resistance value of the LDR under the
operating conditions ie. When a finger was placed over the LDR while the LED was lit
and the resistance was measured. The following diagram outlines this configuration with
the appropriate values.

A measure of the raw heart rate signal was then able to be measured with the
oscilloscope. Figure 1 clearly outlines a heart pulse, and the associated change in
voltage of approximately 5mV.
Figure 3
Figure 4

It is clearly evident that the signal in Figure 1 that the signal is largely affected by high
frequency noise, that could be from any number of possible sources. Since the noise in
this case is at a much higher frequency than the signal which we are interested in. We
can simply filter out this noise with a passive low pass filter configuration. The following
diagram outlines this circuit configuration.

The value for the resistor and capacitor in the low pass filter were calculated based on
the following formulae.

, Where f is the cut-off frequency

It was decided that a reasonable cut-off frequency would be around 10Hz, and since the
capacitor values were limited an arbitrary value was chosen, and the resistance was

Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 2 shows the raw signal after it had been passed through the low pass filter. It is
clearly evident here that the high frequency noise has been significantly reduced,
allowing the signal to be easily identifiable. The signal here is still left with a relatively
large DC offset, and since it is still necessary to amplify the signal it would be ideal to
remove this offset. This was achieved by use of a simple high pass filter, with the
capacitor and resistor value chosen from the same governing equation. For this filter
however the cut-off frequency was chosen to be 0.1Hz.

, Where f is the cut-off frequency

This passive high pass filter will remove frequencies below 0.1Hz, and since a DC signal
is at 0Hz it too will be filtered out. This is due to the way a capacitor impedance changes
with a change in frequency. When exposed to a high frequency a capacitor will present
itself as a low impedance, but when exposed to a low frequency it presents itself as a
high impedance. In the case of a DC signal the capacitor presents itself as an open
circuit, removing any DC offset from the signal.

Figure 7
Figure 8

The amplifying circuit
The raw signal after filtering is about 200 mV. While the required output is about 5 V so
the total gain should be about 25 times. Here is our amplifier circuit:

Channel 1 shows the output signal after being amplified. Channel 2 shows our final output to
the green LED after Smith inverter.
From this result the heart rate can be calculated is 62.5 pulses per minute which is a good
heart rate within the range of human so our circuit is working as we expected.
Overview circuit:

Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
In this experiment, we used passive filters as they require less components, only a
capacitor and a resistor are required. Whereas an active filter requires an op-amp,
several resistor and a capacitor. However, that was not the only reason for us to choose
passive filter.
We also looked at how different the signal will be before it is fed into the amplifier. We
realized that the passive filters only give us negative signal as charges are stored in the
capacitors then discharge in a particular direction so it is not possible to have the signal
goes from negative to positive. In reality, a pulse rate graph consists of both negative
and positive signals. Figure 11 demonstrates this point.

Then we changed our mind to an active filter which requires more parts, such as an op-
amp. However, if we could supply a negative supplied voltage then the active filter can
be able to filter unwanted frequencies without attenuating the signal as well as give it a
So both of the configurations have their own advantages and disadvantages. However
to maintain a realistic signal shape of pulse we need to use two active filters, one for
low-pass and another one for high-pass. We cannot use one active filter and one
passive filter together as the signal is attenuated anyway. So two active filters give
realistic signal but it cost much more parts. However, the requirement of this task is to
get output 5V logic pulses by using a Smith invertor so the analogue signals will be
turned into square pulses so there is no point to waste more components to get realistic-
This method of heart-rate measurement is not quite reliable as the fingertip need to be
steady on the sensor head otherwise it would generate fluctuation in the reflected light which
received by the LDR. In other to get a good result, our circuit should contain filters to
eliminate undesirable frequencies and to do so we have to have an idea about the
Figure 12
thresholds of our heart rate frequencies. The selection of either passive filters or active filters
depends on how the final output signal to be used. To get logic pulses, it is good to use
passive filter. To get a visual image of how the heart actually working, active filters are

Active Low Pass Filter - Op-amp Low Pass Filter. 2014. Active Low Pass Filter - Op-
amp Low Pass Filter. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.electronics- [Accessed 16 April 2014].
Light Dependent Resistors. 2014. Light Dependent Resistors. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 April 2014].
Optic pacemaker: Embryonic heartbeats paced with laser pulses | Observations, Scientific
American Blog Network. 2014. Optic pacemaker: Embryonic heartbeats paced with laser
pulses | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network. [ONLINE] Available at:
heartbeats-paced-with-laser-pulses/. [Accessed 18 April 2014].
In this laboratory exercise each member in the group has put in the same amount
of time and work evenly. We have divided work that needs to be done by each of
us. However we did have a lot of communication as problems arise.