Title of Invention


Abstract The present invention concerns a data acquisition and transfer device comprising a sensor responsive to change of predetermined nature, and a transmitter for transmitting over the mobile phone network data concerning the occurrence of such a change to a receiver station. Such devices can be used in monitoring patients compliance when undergoing drug trials and can form part of a system which polls the device for changes and keeps a record of all transmissions.
The present invention concerns a data acquisition and
transfer system for transferring data via the mobile
phone network. It is particularly but not exclusively
concerned with the transfer of data from individuals to
central reception point and it is contemplated that the
data may take many different forms. However, one
important feature with which the present invention is
concerned is that the major telecommunications operators
and electronic suppliers are at present involved in the
complex and difficult process of moving from the second
generation of mobile phones to the third generation. As
a result of this shift major companies are going to own
increasingly under-utilised second generation digital
networks and manufacturing capabilities for some time to
come. Thus an aspect of the present invention is
concerned with providing a range of opportunities which
will enable these under-utilised facilities to remain
revenue generating in a profitable manner.
One such opportunity lies in the field of drug testing.
The process of testing new drugs in order to have them
approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies can cost
major drug firms up to a million dollars in lost revenue
for each extra day needed to get approval.
One of the reasons it takes so long to get drugs approved
is the length of time it takes to get sufficient good
quality data out of the trials which have to be carried
out. Doctors frequently mis-record data, and doubleblind
trials are expensive and take time to arrange. It
is believed that schemes already exist to bypass the
problems raised for example by doctors' handwriting and
other vagaries in which test data is captured via the
web. However errors still occur and the data is often
Thus in accordance with one aspect of the present
invention data will be collected directly from the
patient and from the receptacle from which the ' trial drug
is dispensed.
It will, however, be appreciated that the basic inventive
concept is applicable to a wide range of fields and is
not necessarily limited to the concept of drug trials.
Thus as will be apparent from the following description
the inventive concept is applicable to monitoring the
health of individuals who are not undergoing drug trials,
locating or monitoring individuals for security purposes
and also for carrying out regular checks on operating
In order that the present invention may be more readily
understood, the embodiments thereof will now be described
by way of example and with reference to the accompanying
drawings in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of the overall system
Figure 2 is a diagram showing elements of the present
invention in conjunction with the public services
telephone network;
Figure 3 is a block diagram of a sensor/transmitter;
Figure 4 is a plan view of a pill receptacle which can be
used in the system shown in Figures 1 and 2;
Figure 5 is a block diagram of the active components of
Figure 4;
Figures 6 and 7 are flow charts showing modes of
operation of the device of Figure 5;.
Figure 8 shows another form of pill receptacle;
Figure 9 shows a sensor bracelet; and
-Figure 10 is a block diagram of data reception and
polling terminal incorporating the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings, Figure 1 represents in a
generic fashion a. family of monitoring and transmitting
devices which will be described in greater detail
hereinafter. Block 1 represents a generic sensor device
for obtaining data and for transmitting the acquired
data. Block 2 represents the data telecommunications
networks (and their operating companies) over which the
data is transmitted to the device 1 so as to trigger a
response to data which, is transmitted from the device
either in response to a change in the circumstances of
the device, to a signal initiated by an internal clock or
in response to a request received to and from a
processing centre shown at 3. Blpck 4 represents a user
of the system for which the data, perhaps after analysis
in block 3, is eventually returned. The directions of
transmission of the data are shown by the headed arrows.
Turning now to Figure 2 of the accompanying drawings,
this shows a conventional representation of the public
services telephone network at 5. Connected to.. the PSTN 5
are a number of blocks la...In each corresponding to
block 1 of Figure 1. As will be appreciated these
devices need not be identical and may in fact have a
number of different functions. It is for this reason
that some of the devices are connected to the PSTN 5 by
double headed arrows indicating that they are capable of
both receiving and transmitting data to the centre 3
whilst other devices only have a single headed arrow
indicating that they are only capable of sending data to
the centre 3. As there are several different types of
device 1, there may also be several different
organisations each interested in acquiring data so that
Figure 2 shows three such organisations 4a...4c.
Turning now to Figure 3 of the accompanying drawings,
this is a block diagram of circuitry which can be
employed in the devices la...In. Thus the block diagram
comprises a sensor 6 shown. in the figure as having two
data inputs, data 1 and data 2 and adapted to send data
corresponding to the two inputs to a second generation
transmit/receive circuit 7. The circuit 7 operates under
the control of a microprocessor CPU unit 8 which also
controls a clock 9. The clock reduces power consumption
of the sensor by only switching the sensor on in response
to appropriate commands from the CPU 8. Thus in several
of its potential functions the device has a power saving
.sleep mode. Thus the sensor can sense data I and data
either simultaneously or at staggered intervals which
need not be the same. Because of the possibility that
the sensors may be required to operate over extended
periods of time the question of power usage is of
considerable importance and this feature will be
described in greater detail hereinafter, in conjunction
with Figure 10 of the accompanying drawings. The
transmit/receive circuit 7, the CPU 8, and the clock 9
may all be formed as a microcircuit on a single chip.
The circuit can include an optional memory 10 and also
includes a power source 11 which can be any suitable
small battery such as the lithium batteries used to power
calculators and digital watches. It is of course
entirely possible for the power source to include
photocells so that electrical energy can be generated by
ambient light.
It will be appreciated that the nature of the sensor has
not been specified and it is of course possible for the
sensor to have only a single data input or a plurality of
data inputs greater than two in number in accordance with
the functions of the sensor within the overall system.
Returning now to device la of Figure 2
It will be appreciated that the device shown in Figure
is essentially a generic one and that certain of the
devices shown in Figure 2 have only a one-way
communication path with the PSTN 5 so that they cannot be
interrogated by the centre 3. In these devices the
send/receive circuit 7 need of course only have a send
capability so that it can be simplified. Naturally if
efficiencies of scale are present it may be simpler to
have a send/receive capability in every device with the
receive facility only being enabled in the appropriate
One embodiment of a device such as la will now be
described with regard to Figures 4 and 5 of the
accompanying drawings. Thus device la is concerned with
monitoring.a drug testing program in which the patient
has to take a regular dosage of the drug tinder test and
in which a drug company is interested in the patient's
response to this dosage. In this embodiment it is
accordingly necessary for the drug company to know both
when a pill is taken and the response by the patient to
the taking of the drug. In its simplest form the device
la will merely indicate that the patient has opened the
pill receptacle. On the opening of the receptacle, the
sensor is intended to give an instruction to the transmit
circuit to send a short text message to the processing
centre 3 where the fact that the receptacle has been
opened, and the timing of its opening, is logged for
future analysis and transmission to the initial user,
namely the drug company, for whom the data is intended.
Figure 4 of the drawings shows a typical receptacle for
pills in the form of a laminated strip 20 having an
electro conductive metal foil surface provided with
recesses 21 each holding a single pill. The sensor and
its associated circuitry and power supply are located at
22. When the patient breaks the laminated foil to remove
a pill, this is detected by the sensor which causes the
send circuit 7, shown in Figure 5, to send the
appropriate message. In Figure 5 the laminated foil is
again shown at 20 and provides-a conductive path between
the power source 11 and the sensor 6 which path is
changed each time the laminate is broken to enable the
patient to remove a pill. Accordingly the sensor 6 can
operate by detecting changes in the resistance or
capacitance of the conductive foil. The foil and the
various items of circuitry are mounted on a backing strip
22 of suitable material such as thick paper or cardboard
which is relatively tougher than that of the foil so that
a user will preferentially break the laminate to activate
the sensor. Given that the device employs a
microprocessor and associated memory it is possible to
pre-program the device with a schedule so that if the
schedule is not followed an alert message is transmitted
to the centre 3.
In applications where the intervals between pills being
taken are not critical to the safety of the patient, a
more sophisticated embodiment of the present invention
may be used. In one such embodiment, data will be
transmitted to the centre 3 on the transmission of a
polling request from the centre 3. In such a case the
breaking of the foil might not cause the immediate
transmission of a signal to the centre 3 but will merely
cause the fact that the foil has been broken to be stored
in memory. Accordingly, when a request is received the
stored data will then be sent as before. In another
variant information about the timing of each pill's
removal can be stored in memory contained within the foil
pack, and all such stored data may be transmitted in a
single communications session, so that the battery power
requirements of the foil pack, and thus its size and
weight, are reduced.
There will now be described a more sophisticated variant
of the device just described with reference to Figures 4
and 5. As already mentioned it may well be that the drug
company instigating the tests will require further
information in addition to the fact that a patient has
been taking his/her pills at the appropriate times and
logging the times at which the pills were taken. Thus it
is entirely possible for the drug company to wish to be
able to monitor changes in the patient's condition when
undergoing the drug regime. In such a situation it may
be necessary for the patient to be provided with two
sensing and transmitting devices. One device could be
similar to the device just described with regard to
Figures 4 and 5 whilst the other device could be a more
sophisticated variant of this device which is attached to
the patient and which monitors factors relevant to the
patient's state of health. Such factors could be blood
pressure, temperature, heart rate, skin pH and
perspiration rate etc. and will of course depend on the
nature of the drug being tested. Accordingly in this
variant of the present invention the sensor 6 will accept
a number of different inputs so that the required
information can eventually be transmitted to the main
centre 3. Additionally in order to conserve power the
sensor may only be activated in response to a request
received at the circuit 7 for stored information to be
sent as text messages back to the centre 3. One way of
ensuring that the data is relevant would be to time the
polling request appropriately in response to data already
transmitted with regard to the timing of the patient's
taking of the drug. In this scenario it is assumed that
there is no direct linkage between the sensor monitoring
the patient's condition and the sensor monitoring the
taking of the drugs. However, in another variant one or
other of the devices could send its stored data to be
appended to the data stored in the other device so that
on interrogation from the centre 3 all the appropriate
data is transmitted at the same time.
The device associated directly with the patient could be
in the form of a bracelet worn by the patient or in the
form of a patch such as one or. more electrodes attached
directly to the patient's skin by suitable adhesives or
taping and worn under the patient's clothing.
The flow diagrams of Figures 6 and 7 show alternative
ways in which the generated data can be accessed by the
centre 3. In these flow diagrams 6a represents the
sensor 6 shown, in Figures 4.. and 5 and 6b represents a
similar sensor but monitoring health characteristics of
the patient involved. It will be appreciated that both
of these sensors are similar to the one described with
reference to Figure 3.
In the flow diagram of Figure 6 it is assumed that the
sensor 6a operates in its normal manner and when a pill
is taken transmits this fact at step SI. to the centre
where it is received at step S2. At step S3 a computer
(not shown) at centre generates a log indicating that a
particular patient has taken a particular pill at a
particular time. In step S4 the centre 3 sends a request
to interrogate the sensor 6b and to request the latter to
transmit in step S5 the data that it has acquired back to
the centre 3 so that this data can be added to the log
generated at step S3 . Naturally the data accessed in the
transmit request step S4 can also include previous data
which has been stored by the sensor 6b at appropriate
intervals after the last time it was polled by the centre
In the flow diagram of Figure 7 an alternative scenario
is shown-in which the output of sensor 6a in response to
the removal of a pill is stored in memory at step SB
together with data from sensor 6b for subsequent
transmission. In step S8 the centre 3 generates a poll
signal to interrogate the stored data.
In response to this interrogation step a step S9 makes
the decision as to whether or not one or more pills have
been taken since the last poll of the device. This
information would of course be of importance to the
company making the drug trial. Whether or not a pill has
been taken data concerning the patients condition is
transmitted in step S10 and the fact that a pill has been
taken is flagged in step Sll. If a pill has not been
taken this information is also supplied to step S12 where
a .log of the available data is generated for subsequent
It will be appreciated that the embodiment of Figure 7
could be changed in a relatively simple manner by keeping
the data separate in two streams in which each memory 10
of each sensor device is interrogated by the centre 1
with each sensor device sending its relevant data
independently of the other to generate the final log at
the centre 1.
It will be appreciated that in the system just described
the quality of data gathered is likely to be much more
accurate than similar data gathered by a doctor or even
from a patients own records and it would also be gathered
much faster. The advantage for this for the drug company
carrying out the tests is clear in that there will be
reduced time delay before a successful drug can be
marketed. Additionally for the telecommunication network
operator the advantage is higher utilisation of their
network, but with limited life span contract thus for a
drug testing program each sensor might be required to be
able to operate over a matter of a few weeks or months.
For the electronic suppliers there will be the
corresponding advantage of the opportunity to get more
utilisation out of their 2g second generation cellular
telephone chip set production capabilities. However, it
must be appreciated that exactly the same concept may be
applied when inevitable progress means a move from third
generation chip sets to fourth generation chip sets and
so on.
It must be appreciated that the receptacle for pills
disclosed in Figures 4 and 5 can take other forms. Thus
Figure 8 shows the receptacle in the form of a standard
pill bottle 30. In such a case the sensor 6 will merely
record for transmission the removal of the led of the
Figure 9 shows a bracelet 40 which can be worn by a user,
in order to detect variations in the user's bodily
functions. ,
As already mentioned the basic sensor configuration shown
in Figure 3 has the potential to carry out a wide range
of functions. Thus the device shown at Ib in Figure 2
could be utilised to detect the possibility of impending
heart attacks in a patient. In this case, the sensor 6
has appropriate sensors and embedded software that detect
heart beat patterns that are known to be precursors of a
heart attack. When these are detected by the CPU the
transmit section will be enabled to send an appropriate
message to the centre 3 so that emergency services could
be alerted. It is of course possible also to alert the
wearer with the risk that the shock might advance the
heart attack.
In an exactly equivalent manner the sensor just described
could be associated with machinery rather than with
individual humans so as to detect actual or imminent
failure and alert owners or maintenance companies. The
sensors can also provide useful data to manufacturers
about the conditions under which a product fails.
Sensor Ic in Figure 2 is shown as having a GPS capability
and in this variant of the invention the sensor 6 is a
motion location sensor and the send/receive circuit 7 can
be simplified so that it is a single-use message sender.
Such a device can be attached to valuable items so that
if they are moved the police will be alerted. Combining
this feature with the GPS capability the device will also
be able to tell the police where the article is.
As is apparent from the foregoing description one of the
advantages of the centre 3 is that it can operate on
behalf of a number of clients and that it will also
generate a substantial amount of secondary data. (
In all of the variants described above the question of
maintaining a sufficient power supply for the sensors and
their associated send/receive circuits is of considerable
importance. In order to conserve power each sensor may
have a sleep mode in which there is minimal power
consumption in such a case the sensor might only respond
to a polling signal from the centre 3 and be quiescent
until the polling signal has been received.
Turning now to Figure 10 of the accompanying drawings
this shows in greater detail a data reception and polling
terminal 40 corresponding to the centre'3 shown in Figure
Figure 10 again shows the PSTN network at 5 and sensor
devices la...In. As before some of these devices have
only a transmit capability and others have a
receive/transmit capability.
In the centre of polling terminal 40 blocks 41a, 41b and
41c represent receive terminals for receiving data
signals from devices similar to send only device la or
for both sending data to and receiving data from sensor
devices such as device In. Thus terminal 4la represents
a receive-only terminal, whilst terminals 41b and 41c are
transmit/receive terminals. Each terminal is capable of

at least receiving data from a large number of sensor
devices, and some terminals can also transmit to a large
number of sensor devices* Associated with each terminal
is an electronic processor. Terminal 41a is shown
connected to a processor 42 whilst terminals 41b, 41c are
shown connected to a data processing system 44.
Processor 42 on receipt of data from a sensor devise is
programmed to recognise the source of the data and to log
the data, including time of receipt, in an appropriate
storage area 43.
Data processing system 44 is also capable of generating
outgoing data such, as polling calls and is also
programmed to store in appropriate files details of all
outgoing and incoming data as required by a user of the
system. As already discussed power conservation is an
important factor in the operation of the various sensors.
Thus it will be seen that polling terminal 40 also
includes a system clock which can be of any suitable
type. Each processor can have its own clock or, as shown
a single clock can be used. Data processing system 44
also includes a storage area 46 storing Sensor Timing
Data, namely the time at which each sensor which is to be
polled in synchronism with that sensor's clock switching
the sensor on and in addition, if there are passive
sensors, the times at which data is expected to be
received from the sensors. The data processing system 44
also includes a stored set of hatch routines indicated at
47 in order to control the polling of target sensors at
appropriate times as set by the STD file 46. The
batching routine can also flag if a non-polled sensor has
been quiescent for too long a period in response to data
stored on the same file area. Provided that each sensor
clock 9 is in nominal synchronism with the system clock
or its associated clock then the combination of the
synchronised clocks, the STD file and the Batch routine
will ensure that each device to be polled can remain in a
very lower power. Mode with only its clock operational
and its memory contents refreshed except when data is
required. Naturally the polling times will vary with
polling intervals for security sensors being shorter than
those, for example, drug testing.

1. A data acquisition and transfer device (la, lb, lc), the device being characterized by:
at least one sensor (6) responsive to change of a predetermined nature;
a transmitter (7) for transmitting over a mobile phone network data concerning the occurrence of such a change to a data receiver;
a receiver (7) for receiving at least one polling signal from the data receiver over the mobile phone network;
a microprocessor means (8) responsive to the receipt of the said at least one polling signal from the receiver station to cause the transmitter to transmit data to said receiver; and
the microprocessor means (8) comprising a clock (9) for reducing the power consumption of the sensor (6) by only switching the sensor (6) on at predetermined intervals as determined by the clock (9).
2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the microprocessor is coupled to a memory (10) for storing at least one occurrence of a change.
3. The device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the sensor (6) is incorporated in a receptacle (20, 30) for containing drugs to be taken by a user and wherein the removal of an item from the receptacle (20, 30) is the change to be detected by said sensor (6).
4. The device as claimed in any preceding claim and comprising at least two sensors, at least one of said at least two sensors (40) monitoring a physiological condition of the user of the device.
5. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the sensor (6) is located in a container for monitoring the location of an article.
6. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the sensor (40) carried by a person for monitoring physical conditions of the person.
7. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the microprocessor means (8) is coupled to a first and a second sensors (6, 40) that sense a first and a second physical characteristic and generates a first data based on the first physical characteristic as

sensed by the first sensor (6) and generates a second data based on the second physical characteristic as sensed by the second sensor (40); and is coupled to the transmitter (7) and the receiver (7) for transmitting over a mobile phone network (5) first and second data to a data receiver in response to the receiver (7) receiving the first polling signal and the second data in response to receiving the second polling signal.
8. A data receiver (3) for use with at least one data acquisition and transfer device (la,
lb, lc) as claimed in claim 1, said receiver station comprising:
a transmitter (41a, 41b) fro sending at least one polling signal to the or each data acquisition and transfer device (la, lb, lc);
a receiver (41a, 41b) for receiving data transmitted over the mobile phone network by the or each data acquisition and transfer device (la, lb, lc),
a memory (43) for storing data received from the or each data acquisition and transfer device as individual logs of detected events; and
a storage area (47) storing data representing at least one polling time at which the transmitter of the receiver station transmits the said at least one polling signal to the data acquisition and transfer device or the selected data acquisition and transfer devices at at-least one interval determined by clock means (45) which is normally in synchronism with the clock in the or each data acquisition and transfer device so that the receiver station is adapted to send the said at least one polling signal when the or each target data acquisition and sensor device is switched on.
9. The data receiver station as claimed in claim 8, wherein
the transmitter (41a, 41b) sends a first polling signal over the mobile phone network to the to the or each data acquisition and transfer device requesting data associated with a change detected by a first sensor, and a second polling signal over the mobile phone network to the or each data acquisition and transfer device requesting data associated with a change detected by the first sensor;
the receiver (41a, 41b) receives the data associated with the first and second sensors over the mobile phone network; and

a controller (42) determines a time for sending the second polling signal depending upon a content of the first data and to control the transmitter to send the second polling at the predetermined time.
10. The data acquisition and transfer device as claimed in claim 1 for use in a data acquisition system.
11. A data acquisition and transfer device substantially as herein described with reference to the foregoing description and the accompanying drawings.
12. A data receiver station substantially as herein described with reference to the foregoing description and the accompanying drawings.








3279-delnp-2005-complete specification (granted).pdf




3279-delnp-2005-description (complete)-17-09-2008.pdf

3279-delnp-2005-description (complete).pdf





















Patent Number 228440
Indian Patent Application Number 3279/DELNP/2005
PG Journal Number 08/2009
Publication Date 20-Feb-2009
Grant Date 04-Feb-2009
Date of Filing 25-Jul-2005
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
PCT International Classification Number H04Q 7/32
PCT International Application Number PCT/GB2004/000394
PCT International Filing date 2004-01-30
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 03250577.8 2003-01-30 EUROPEAN UNION