Tracking Alzheimer’s Disease patients with Arduino


This DIY GPS tracker will let you know when a loved one with Alzheimer’s wanders off.


Anyone who has ever had a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease is all too familiar with the significance of taking the necessary steps to ensure that person’s well-being. As the disease progresses, those with the disease experience worsening memory loss, difficulty in responding to their environment, and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. In fact, a number of patients tend to wander from places of safety.

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So in an effort to help solve this problem, Maker Logan Prasser — in collaboration with Sean Halloran and Gvozden Suvajlo — has devised a GPS device that can track a sufferer’s movements and send an alert to a caregiver if and when they leave a pre-defined range. The gadget, which consists of a 3D-printed case, can be easily slipped inside a pocket by a caretaker, who can then monitor the patient’s movements from afar. While there are a few commercial solutions on the market today, most are a bit complex and costly when compared to this DIY project.

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Housed within the device’s 3D-printed shell is an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), an Adafruit FONA board, a GPS breakout board and antenna, along with a 9V battery. The Maker programmed the Micro to communicate with both the cell and GPS modules. When the GPS module is not within its specified boundary, the tracker notifies the caretaker via text.

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Though not required, Prasser suggests using a solar board for charging the 3.7V battery and using solar panels. Another optional step includes adding a button and LED to the device.

Have a loved one who could surely benefit from this DIY solution? Check out the Maker’s step-by-step breakdown on Instructables here.

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