Energy-friendly MCU design with communications protocol stack for remote medical systems

Energy Micro has announced a partnership with Lamprey Networks to provide energy friendly, secure and certified remote monitoring medical electronic systems. Using a standard EFM32 starter-kit and HealthLink PC tools, the design includes a USB driver and communications protocol stack certified by Continua Health Alliance. Continua is the international industry organisation that looks to advance personal connected health by promoting end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity of personal health devices and establishing industry standards for interoperability.

The demo platform is based on the USB versions of Energy Micro’s EFM32 Leopard and Giant Gecko ranges of Cortex-M3 based, energy-friendly microcontrollers. It will also be applicable to the forthcoming Cortex-M4 floating-point Wonder Gecko. The energy efficient 32-bit design facilitates fast, reliable development of patient monitoring systems, including blood glucose monitors and a fast-growing number of mobile healthcare devices, many of which require high performance processing matched to the lowest possible energy consumption in order to maximize battery life.

“The Energy Micro USB certified driver and LNI’s Continua-Certified protocol stacks enable rapid, seamless transfer of accurate data between devices and cloud host systems. Implementation will reduce the time required to bring new electronic healthcare products to market. Energy Micro sees the medical electronics sector as an important and exciting growth market to which our products are ideally suited,” said Øyvind Grotmol, Energy Micro’s VP of Simplicity.

Mike Mazzola, CEO of LNI added, “Minimising energy consumption is critical to the success of mobile healthcare devices because it frees users from the worry of frequent battery changes or re-charging. We expect products based on the EFM32 and Continua-Certified protocol stack to be amongst the most energy-efficient available.”

In addition to USB stacks, LNI provides implementations of their HealthLink interface and protocols that operate on common platforms such as Android, Windows, Linux and iOS. This enables users to transfer health and fitness data via multiple transports such as Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE and Zigbee directly to Continua receivers. Individuals and healthcare professionals can then store and maintain this information on the Microsoft HealthVault internet platform. Devices can also be configured to communicate over a cloud network using LNI’s HealthLink Cloud, a software development kit for back end servers that sends and receives WAN measurement data and enables this to be shared across the health ecosystem.

“Continua Design Guidelines and Certification enables manufacturers and integrators to create devices and platforms that make the collection and sharing of personal health data convenient and secure for consumers and health care providers, while saving valuable development time and money,” added Chuck Parker, Executive Director, Continua Health Alliance. “Continua is pleased to support Energy Micro and LNI in their development of more energy-friendly, secure remote monitoring devices. More efficient, user-friendly connectivity and convenient remote monitoring devices will further encourage the adoption of personal connected health solutions by both consumers and healthcare providers.”

The 32-bit Cortex-M3 ARM processor was developed for power sensitive applications. Energy Micro’s EFM32 uses the Cortex-M3″s low power and high performance, in combination with unique low power autonomous peripherals, to create the world’s lowest power embedded systems platform so that designers can achieve the lowest total energy consumption for their products. Typical applications experience four times longer operation for a given battery capacity when using an EFM32 Gecko microcontroller.


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