Sample Hardware Post: Pulse Sensor + GPS Shield + Arduino

Since we didn’t have class last week, I don’t want to give you a big assignment, but I do want to know what kind of hardware you are starting to tinker with, and more importantly, I’d like to know your questions. Since we didn’t have class, I’ll make a sample post to get things started. For your post, please include

  • A PHOTO of your hardware setup
  • a few sentences on YOUR PROGRESS
  • a few sentences on YOUR QUESTIONS.


This week I tinkered with setting up a pulse sensor with the Adafruit GPS logger shield on the Arduino Uno.


My Progress: The pulse sensor and GPS shield are all working together and outputting Quantified Self (sensor) and Geolocation (lat/long) data to both the Serial Monitor and the microSD card. Even though I’m using the “Soft Serial” switch on the GPS shield, I had to set up a jumper cable (see the yellow jumper cable in my photo above) from TX to the 0 pin, as in this Adafruit image.  My (not yet thoroughly commented) sketches:

My Questions/Issues: The pulse sensor seems to take a few seconds to stabilize and indicate a reasonable BPM of 60-65. I’m not sure if this is normal. Also, I don’t seem to find a decent pulse reading with my fingers or ears– my lip seems to be the only place where I get a decent reading! This must be resolved. Also, the GPS shield, which I set up inside, doesn’t seem to maintain a consistent fix to satellites, so the lat/long values are not consistent. But this tends to resolve through outdoor or antenna use.

Supplemental: Here is a quick video demonstrating this setup. [Note to class: a video is optional.]

And here is a follow-up video with GPS output: Follow-up video with GPS output


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