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Shimmer Overview

Shimmer ECG

Shimmer - Sensing Health with Intelligence, Modularity, Mobility, and Experimental Reusability

Shimmer is a small wireless sensor platform that supports wearable applications. It provides an extremely extensible platform for real-time kinematic motion and physiological sensing. It features a large storage capacity and low-power standards based wireless communication technologies which facilitate wearable or wireless sensing in both connected and disconnected modes. Licensed from Intel, Shimmer was commercialized by Shimmer Research, a division of Realtime Technologies Ltd. in Ireland. Ben Kuris and Steve Ayer, the originators of Shimmer continue to direct platform development at Shimmer Research's Boston R&D Center.

Shimmer provides a compact platform for long-term wearable or wireless sensing using proven system building blocks. The design is realized using conventional design and assembly technology to ensure repeatability and economy. Shimmer was designed to help create an ecosystem of health-related technologies that provide a highly mobile capability and can easily integrate and interact with existing technology and infrastructure. The platform has now expanded to include a range of applications from Healthcare and Sports Science, to Ambient and Environmental sensing solutions.


Platform Features

Shimmer Platform Development Kit

  • Compact form factor, Light & Wearable (Dimension in Enclosure: 503m x 32mm x 15mm)
  • FCC/ETSI/CE/IC/ACMA certifications for Bluetooth and 802.15.4 wireless communications (RN-42, SR7)
  • Open platform, open source TinyOS codebase
  • Offline data capture - MicroSD Card Storage - 2 Gigabytes
  • Integrated MicroSD card data-bypass for HW accelerated host-data transfer
  • Internal and external connectors for expansion
  • Includes simple serial command interface for Bluetooth
  • Integrated TCP/IP stack for 802.15.4
  • Integrated 3-axis MEMs accelerometer with selectable range
  • Integrated tilt/vibration sensor
  • Integrated Li-ion battery mgmt. and power measurement
  • Supported by BioMOBIUS graphical software platform
  • Compatible with Labview with a DSC Module available

Available as add-on extension boards and accessories

  • Kinematics sensing (3 axis Gyroscope)
  • Advanced kinematics sensing (3 axis Gyroscope + 3 axis magnetic sensing)
  • Three-lead micro-power electrocardiograph (ECG)
  • One channel micro-power electromyograph (EMG)
  • One channel skin conductance response (SCR) / Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)
  • Passive InfraRed (PIR)
  • Photosensing
  • Breakout board to thru-holes for rapid prototyping
  • Span Platform - provides a USB plug-in 802.15.4 adapter
  • USB programming/charging dock
  • Six-Shimmer Charger
  • ECG/EMG Leads
  • Wearable Straps


Shimmer Streaming Data to Android

The Shimmer platform is being utilized for a variety of applications. These include:

  • Limb motion analysis of Parkinson's Disease and stroke patients - see Mercury and CodeBlue for details
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Gait Analysis
  • Sleep Studies
  • Cognitive Awareness
  • Activities of Daily Living Studies
  • Vital Signs Monitoring
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sport Science and Technique Analysis
  • Ambient Sensing

Sample Shimmer applications for data collection can be found in the TinyOS open source codebase; see the section below on TinyOS for more details.


  • Shimmers are now commercially available through Shimmer Research. Please email "info at shimmer-research dot com" for further information.
  • Shimmer Research

TinyOS Support

Shimmer platforms are fully supported under both versions of TinyOS. In tinyos-1.x, the codebase is found under contrib/handhelds; in tinyos-2.x, platform support is in the main tree, with example platform code in tinyos-2.x-contrib/shimmer. In both cases, example data-collection code can be found under each tree's respective apps directory, with various other code snippets sprinked throughout the adjacent swtest directory. For a more complete set of documentation, visit and