The aim of this paper is to report the design of a low-cost plastic optical fiber (POF) pressure sensor, embedded in a mattress. We report the design of a multipoint sensor, a cheap alternative to the most common fiber sensors. The sensor is implemented using Arduino board, standard LEDs for optical communication in POF (λ = 645 nm) and a silicon light sensor. The Super ESKA®
plastic fibers were used to implement the fiber intensity sensor, arranged in a 4 × 4 matrix. During the breathing cycles, the force transmitted from the lungs to the thorax is in the order of tens of Newtons, and the respiration rate is of one breath every 2–5 s (0.2–0.5 Hz). The sensor has a resolution of force applied on a single point of 2.2–4.5%/N on the normalized voltage output, and a bandwidth of 10 Hz, it is then suitable to monitor the respiration movements. Another issue to be addressed is the presence of hysteresis over load cycles. The sensor was loaded cyclically to estimate the drift of the system, and the hysteresis was found to be negligible.
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