A body patch could transmit important health information to mobile devices using Bluetooth technology.
Imec and Holst Centre have developed the patch, which integrates Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio and an ultra-low power electrocardiogram (ECG) chip developed through the Human++ R&D program.
Intended to open up the potential of low-power radio technology for long-term healthcare monitoring, the ECG patch measures up to three lead ECG signals, tissue-contact impedance and includes a 3D-accelerometer for physical activity monitoring.
The data is processed in the device before being transmitted through Bluetooth Low Energy.
It is claimed the technology could offer insights into long-term monitoring in health, wellness and medical applications.
The patch is reportedly capable of operating on a minimal energy budget. When computing and transmitting the heart rate, the entire system is said to consume 280µA at 2.1V and can run continuously for one month on a 200mAh lithium polymer battery.
At the heart of the patch is an ECG System-On-Chip designed to provide ECG monitoring and high processing power at extremely low-energy consumption.
The chip has also been designed to run algorithms on motion artifact reduction (based on adaptive filtering or principal component analysis) and beat-to-beat heart-rate computation (based on discrete or continuous wavelet transforms).
The partners say the BLE link will allow data to be transferred to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets when Bluetooth 4 becomes standard for many handsets next year.