Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Yong Xu


Continuous or mobile monitoring of physiological sounds is expected to play important role in the emerging mobile healthcare field. Because of the miniature size, low cost, and easy installation, accelerometer is an excellent choice for continuous physiological acoustic signal monitoring. However, in order to capture the detailed information in the physiological signals for clinical diagnostic purpose, there are more demanding requirements on the sensitivity/noise performance of accelerometers. In this thesis, a unique piezoelectric accelerometer based on the asymmetric gapped cantilever which exhibits significantly improved sensitivity is extensively studied. A meso-scale prototype is developed for capturing the high quality cardio and respiratory sounds on healthy people as well as on heart failure patients. A cascaded gapped cantilever based accelerometer is also explored for low frequency vibration sensing applications such as ballistocardiogram monitoring. Finally, to address the power issues of wireless sensors such as wireless wearable health monitors, a wide band vibration energy harvester based on a folded gapped cantilever is developed and demonstrated on a ceiling air condition unit.