Product Suggestions?

Dear All,

Radiotherapy bunkers (where people are treated for cancer) have very thick walls, sometimes 1-2 meters thick concrete to prevent the radiation from escaping and causing harm to health workers and the general public.

Whilst we have hardwired cameras, speakers and microphones in the bunkers to monitor able patients, hearing impaired and blind patients can be a challenge to communicate with. I’d like a wireless option that allows an operator outside the room to send a signal into the room and activate wearable RGB of LED lights (for hearing impaired) or a vibration motor (sight impaired).

With so many different options in recent years I’m not sure if Bluetooth, BLE, ESP or another transmission type would be best. I’d like it to be self contained and LIPO powered (which shouldn’t be an issue).

More comfortable with Arduino than Rasp Pi, whilst the M5 stack is just so clean looking. Maybe there’s another option? Open to all suggestions.

Thanks in advance,


Hi Adam
This would depend on the material within the wall/doors etc of the bunker. Possibly or probably lead screened also which would make life very difficult for any type of radio communication. I think measurements would need to be done to establish the degree of attenuation.

You may have to research some means of penetrating the wall with actual wires to operate your signalling devices.
Cheers Bob


Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply and agree with your thoughts.

I don’t believe that there is any lead lining in the walls and it’s just concrete.

For years I’ve thought the only reliable way to achieve this was to run very long cabling however today I was surprised that a “ARLEC RC212 remote control power outlet” worked reliably with the plug inside the bunker and the remote controlled from outside. Unfortunately, having any power lead between the wall and the patient causes a potential trip hazard and can’t be used. Though it did convince me that a wireless option should be possible.

Cheers, Adam

Hey Adam,

What an interesting question, I think this is the first time any of these parts have been used in a radiotherapy bunker. I’d suspect it’s possible as long as the transmission signal was high enough to be able to penetrate the walls of the bunker. Although it may be possible to set this up, I would highly suggest involving an engineering firm such as Saphi to see whether they would be able to come up with a solution for you rather than trying to use hobbyist components to set this up from scratch.

All the best with the project!

May have got some RF coupling via the mains wiring. This could be another solution. I think there is still some ethernet over mains equipment around.
Cheers Bob

Dear Bryce,

I’d truly love to be able to get their engineering expertise involved in something like this but unfortunately this is for possibly the only ‘not for profit’ cancer hospital in Australia and making the absolute most out of every dollar is also necessary.

Kind regards, Adam

Yes Bob,

You certainly might be onto something there that I didn’t consider. I think that I might need to have a chat with our IT department. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was the case.
Cheers, Adam

Hi Adam,

I completely understand, there may be some local uni students that’d be glad to help out given the nature of the application, it may be a good idea to ask a local campus to see whether there’d be any staff that would like to present the opportunity to their class to do some volunteer work in person. As for kit to set this up, you’ll likely need a simple webcam server setup, like that which is detailed in this tutorial: How to Make Raspberry Pi Webcam Server and Stream Live Video || Motion + Webcam + Raspberry Pi : 8 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

Also, for Lipo power you should be able to use one of the PiJuice or similar hats to be able to run it from a small 3.7V cell (personally for this application I’d aim for around 2000mAh)

If you’re able to have the hospital IT hookup a nearby wireless access point to or in the bunker, then you should be able to host the server on your network quite easily from a Raspberry Pi, you can also setup Bluetooth on your Pi to connect other devices such as one of the Arduino BLE boards or similar wearables as you described earlier to communicate with hearing impaired or blind patients.

Dear Bryce,
Thank you for such offering awesome ideas and assistance. We will definitely be able to leverage the Uni for help and in the meantime the PiJuice is a great suggestion and given people ALWAYS forget to put anything on charge the 2000mAh should be about right.
So happy to get this project started and from lots of different angles.
Cheers, Adam

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Next step:

Find a way for it to comply with the TGA’s Medical Devices Essential Principles Checklist.


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