Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Stephen E. Saddow, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alexandro Castellanos, Ph.D.


Body Temperature, Freefall and Impact Detection, Microcontroller, Personal Locator Beacon, Pulse Oximeter, Skin Conductance


This thesis details the development of an automatically-activated personal locator beacon system to facilitate search and rescue of injured users in remote locations. Trauma in the wilderness can result in brain injuries caused by falling from heights, the onset of bad weather condition, cardiological, pulmonary diseased condition, etc. This thesis initially describes the concept of a low-power trauma detection Personal Locator Beacon system and later focuses on detecting the traumatic condition, through four (4) physiological parameters: skin conductance, pulse oximeter, user movement via Freefall and activity/inactivity and impact detection, and finally body temperature. For these four physiological parameters respective sensor circuitry was designed and data from these sensors read and analyzed by a microcontroller, and displayed using PuTTY software on a laptop. Skin conductance and pulse oximeter data was read through the ADC port of the microcontroller and transferred to the laptop using UART communication. Accelerometer and temperature sensor data was read from the sensor using the I2C communication protocol and transferred to the laptop using UART communication. Later this data was analyzed and compared with pre-set threshold values and an alarm sequence initiated. Future work will be needed to implement the alarm system and 406 MHz emergency radio beacon before this system can be commercially viable.