Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Blood Pressure Monitor


Welcome to ABC Health Products! As ABC’s newest electro-mechanical engineer, you have been assigned to a design team to modify an existing blood pressure monitor to allow more flexibility and data collection for the company’s R&D projects. This prototype will be used as a test bed to collect data for the product development teams.

Your research team leader wants a monitor that will automatically cycle to measure blood pressure and will record the details of the pressure vs. time graph so that the company can develop new algorithms for calculating the blood pressure. Since there is no need for you to re-invent the basic parts of a blood pressure system, like the cuff or control valves you will re-purpose the parts from a commercially-available, consumer blood pressure monitor.

To develop the new devices, the design team needs a system that will operate as follows: The cuff is placed on the upper arm to pressurize the arteries, just like other blood pressure monitoring devices. A Pressure Sensor is connected to the cuff and is used to monitor the pressure in the cuff in units of mm Hg. The cuff is automatically pressurized with the pump from the consumer monitoring system. As the system pressurizes, the exhaust valve should be held closed so the cuff will automatically deflate if the power fails. Your on-screen display should include a graph of cuff pressure vs. time and a large, easily-readable indicator of live cuff pressure readings. Your program should be set up to stop inflation and produce a brief visual or audible signal when the cuff pressure has reached 165 mm Hg. The pressure release valve should slowly releases pressure out of the cuff. The exhaust valve should remain closed while the pressure bleeds out of the cuff. When the cuff pressure reaches 30 mm Hg the exhaust, the valve should open and allow the cuff to quickly deflate.

You will complete your test bed using Vernier sensors, Logger Pro software or a standalone LabQuest 2, and a variety of output devices shown in the Materials list.

Learning Objectives

  • Supplement classroom instruction on the circulatory system and blood pressure and its measurement with hands on engineering application.
  • Control devices (e.g., lights, pumps, valves, and buzzers) based on input from measured physical quantities (e.g., blood pressure).
  • Apply mathematical logic processing to the control of devices.
  • Repurpose existing components and devices.

Reference Experiments

Vernier Lab Book Experiment
Human Physiology with Vernier 7 Blood Pressure as a Vital Sign
8 Blood Pressure and Exercise
9 Diurnal Blood Pressure Variation
10 Heart Rate and Blood Pressure as Vital Signs
11 Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Exercise
Advanced Biology with Vernier 10A Blood Pressure as a Vital Sign

Sensors and Equipment

Additional Materials

  • 5 VDC buzzer
  • 5 VDC/120 mA lamp
  • 5 VDC exhaust valve*
  • 5 VDC air pump*
  • pressure relief valve*
  • green LED (with 120 Ω resistor)
  • red LED (with 160 Ω resistor)

Construction Materials

  • blood pressure cuff*
  • aquarium tubing to fit pump etc. from commercial system luer-lock connectors for tubing
  • cardboard, foam core, or pegboard cable ties
  • labels
  • colored markers

* From the commercial blood pressure system.

Download Extension

The download includes student instructions, DCU tips, teacher information, and examples in PDF and Microsoft® Word® formats.

Blood Pressure Monitor

About Engineering Extension Activities

Engineering Extension Activities provide a way to add an engineering component to a Vernier science experiment. Use sensor data and Logger Pro software (or LabQuest 2) to help solve an engineering problem.

See All Engineering Extension Activities »

Go to top