In the medical realm and other areas (e.g., automotive, networking), architects often ask themselves at the time a new product has to be designed if they can afford application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). In past years, a lot has been published about the pros and con of using ASICs. These reports always speak about power consumption, size, and capabilities, but in the end there is a...
Murata aims to be a player in the medical space. And they’ve got a series of products to prove it. The company is paying particular attention to small and easy-to-use health-care equipment for the prevention of illness. Some of the product categories the company participates in includes wireless communication modules such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart module, and NFC (Near Field Communication...
There are many applications, particularly in the medical space, where ferroelectric RAM, or FRAM, is the memory technology of choice. Unlike EEPROM of flash memory, FRAM doesn’t need a high internal voltage for writing operations, thereby increasing both the writing speed and the endurance of the memory. Also key to medical applications is the fact that the FRAM is resistant to...
As baby boomers and Gen Xers reach the age where they more regularly encounter health issues, they’re seeking ways to effectively detect health issues early and treat those conditions with less invasive therapies and procedures that let them recover faster and live longer. To this end, medical equipment companies are turning to advanced electronics to create fantastically innovative and...
Microchip Technology Inc. recently announced a new series of low pin count 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs) that provide 61 DMIPS of performance in packages as small as 5 by 5 mm. The PIC32 MX1 and MX2 MCUs, the smallest and lowest-cost PIC32 MCUs, are the first in the family to feature dedicated audio and capacitive-sensing peripherals. The devices also feature USB On-the-Go (OTG)...
Recently, the FDA reported that “of the 56,000 medical device reports relating to the use of infusion pumps received by the FDA over a five-year period, approximately 1% (560) were related to deaths, 34% (19,040) to serious injuries, and the remainder to system malfunctions.” As a result, the FDA issued a guidance directed specifically toward infusion pumps. It states that when paired...
Our friends at sister property Design News are hosting an Internet radio show in a few weeks that’s aimed at medical electronics designers. Called “Embedded Angles for Medical Products," the show will consist of live, streaming audio and an online chat. The show’s guest will be Steven Dean, global healthcare segment lead for Freescale Semiconductor. Dean will discuss the...
Wireless charging may one day replace plugs and wires similar to how Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have modernized personal communication. Wireless charging with inductive coupling uses an electromagnetic field that transfers energy from the transmitter to the receiver, and this technology is a suitable method to charge medical devices. Wireless transfer of power is not new. In 1831, Michael Faraday...
The complexity of medical devices is ever increasing. Medical devices range from simple tools like a stethoscope to gene-sequencing machines and tele-operated surgical devices. As the devices become more and more complex, so does testing and risk assessment. Many are aware that the FDA’s medical device recall database reports a 17% increase from 2009. A medical device recall is the most...
Intel announced the availability of its latest mobile Atom processor-based platform, formerly codenamed Cedar Trail. Designed to provide compact, on-the-go computing with extended battery life at a lower price point, the platform adds several new features. The design’s dedicated media engine enables full 1080p high-definition playback of videos and Blu-Ray content and includes additional...
Microchip Technology recently announced a new series of low pin count 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs) that provide 61 DMIPS of performance in packages as small as 5 by 5 mm. The PIC32 MX1 and MX2 MCUs are the smallest and lowest-cost PIC32 MCUs, and are the first PIC32s to feature dedicated audio and capacitive-sensing peripherals. Rated for operation up to 105°C, the PIC32 MX1 and MX2...
VIA Technologies (Taipei, Taiwan), a provider of x86 processor platforms, has earned Taiwan Green Classics Awards from the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs for seven of its products. The awards recognize the best green products and services provided by Taiwanese corporations, and VIA won for products including its VIA Quadcore processor and VIA Nano X2 and VIA Eden X2 dual-core processors....
Texas Instruments announced support of its free, easy-to-use medical imaging software toolkit (STK), a collection of imaging algorithms targeted for TI’s industry leading TMS320C66x digital signal processors (DSP) generation. Complementing TI’s full portfolio of analog and embedded processing solutions for real-time medical imaging, the upgraded toolkit offers image processing kernels...
Express Logic recently reported that its NetX TCP/IP stack has achieved 94 Mbits/s, a 94% wire speed on Freescale’s ARM Cortex-M4-based Kinetis processor. The Kinetis has a 100-Mbit/s Ethernet port, which enables transfers at up to wire speed. Generally, TCP/IP stacks are less than 100% efficient, leading to performance well below wire speed. To facilitate rapid data transfer, the closer to...
Nuvoton Technology introduced the ChipCorder ISD9160 system-on-a-chip (SoC) device, which features a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller core.  The IC is designed to optimize low-power audio recording and playback in portable medical devices. With a processor core running at up to 50 MHz, sophisticated power-management features, embedded flash and SRAM memory, real-time clock (RTC) control...
Microchip Technology announced several new 8-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) that feature configurable logic and a high level of peripheral integration in 6- to 20-pin packages. The PIC10F(LF)32X and PIC1XF(LF)150X MCUs each feature new peripherals, including configurable logic cells (CLC), complementary waveform generators (CWG), and numerically controlled oscillators (NCO). The CLC peripherals...
STMicroelectronics and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) of Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented the results of an advance R&D project targeting a low-power microprocessor technology at this year’s European Solid-State Circuits Conference in Helsinki, Finland. The voltage-scalable 32-bit microprocessor System-on-Chip (SoC) combines excellent peak performance...
Atmel announced the availability of an ultra-small XDFN (extremely thin dual flat no leads) package including a 363-bit read/write transponder IDIC. Measuring 2 by 1.5 by 0.37 mm, the transponder IDIC (ATA5577M1) is a high-volume, low-frequency (LF, 100-150kHz) RFID device designed for small tag applications. The two coil wires can directly be soldered onto the two pads of the package and mounted...
Designed to help developers obtain safety certifications, Texas Instruments (TI) announced its Hercules safety microcontroller platform for medical (and other) applications. The platform consists of three ARM Cortex-based microcontroller (MCU) families that deliver scalable performance, connectivity, memory, and safety features for applications that require a high level of reliability. Unlike...
Bluetooth low energy is an important wireless medium for the medical space. We’ve covered it lately and readers have told us how critical it is. Texas Instruments (TI), one of the innovators in wireless technologies, recently launched ten Bluetooth low energy technology (Bluetooth v4.0) profiles with associated sample applications for compliant sensor devices. The Bluetooth low energy...
One of Intel’s biggest supporters, Kontron, has decided to adopt the ARM architecture for its embedded system platforms. Kontron is one of the leaders for embedded computers, and had been a strong supporter of Intel for most of its existence. While the company isn’t getting away from the Intel platform, they are adding the ARM architecture to their mix of products, which says a lot,...
 A benchtop UV-curing conveyor unit can provide up to 400 mW/cm2 of intensity, which can facilitate fast and complete curing for potting and conformal applications. The Dymax UVC-5 system can be part of a production line or used as standalone equipment for curing UV adhesives as well as UV curable inks and coatings. It can cure up to 10 meters per minute, with complete shielding from UV...
Medical developers must think differently The biggest difference between a mainstream embedded application and a medical application is that the medical device usually has to work right all the time, every time. For the majority of embedded applications, it a product has an infrequent error or needs a reboot, it’s a nuisance, but not much more than that. For medical applications, product...
I’m a big fan of the Beagleboard. In fact, when I was involved with the Embedded Systems Conference, we would run classes whereby every attendee would receive a Beagleboard and we’d teach a whole series of classes around it, showing people how to configure it specifically for their application. Now, I’m in possession of the follow-in product, the PandaBoard. The biggest...
I’m bummed that I’m missing the Freescale Tech Forum this week, better known as FTF. This is the first one I’ve missed (ever, I think). Thankfully, it’s for good personal reasons that I’m not partaking this year. From what I’ve heard and read about the event, the show is going on in my absence. Imagine that. First, there was a panel session covering medical...