What’s up doc? Let the chip tell you

A very low-power RF SoC solution will target implanted medical device programmers and medical monitoring base stations. Developed by Zarlink Semiconductors, the ZL70101 transceiver delivers high data rates and low power consumption, and features special wakeup circuitry, says the company.

Ultimately, medical-device manufacturers can design in-body communication systems that will improve patient care, lower healthcare costs, and support new monitoring, diagnostic, and therapeutic apps. Previous home health-monitoring systems required the patient to accurately position an inductive wand over the implanted device. In comparison, using Zarlink MICS technology, patient health and implanted device performance data can be stored in the implanted medical device’s memory and wirelessly transmitted to a base station without patient inter vention.

Data can then be forwarded over the telephone or Inter net to a physician’s office. If a problem is detected, the physician will schedule a patient follow-up visit where the two-way RF link can be used to interrogate and adjust implanted device performance.

During surgery to implant medical devices, the longer operating range of the ZL70101 chip allows the base station/programmer to be located outside the sterile environment.

The ZL70101 has a “wake-up” receiver that lets the IC operate in an extremely low-current, 250nA “sleep” mode. Communication is then initiated using a specially coded wake-up signal from the base station transmitter.

The implanted medical device can also wake up the ZL70101 radio upon detection of an emergency medical event. An emergency signal could then be sent to the base station, which in turn would alert paramedics.

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