Medical communications

Cambridge Consultants has designed a new ‘control and communications’ radio architecture for in-body medical diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Called SubQore, it supports medical device manufacturers’ drive for implantable devices which combine very low power requirements with wireless communications.

In a typical pacemaker for example, SubQore would deliver more than 10 years of activity from a lithium cell. But it’s equally capable of meeting short-term requirements for high volumes of data, in a swallowable video imaging device for example.

The new implantable transceiver design combines Cambridge Consultants’ portfolio of IP for ultra-low power radio with the outfit’s RISC processor core, XAP. In use, the architecture would consume an average current of less than 1mA, and less than 1.7mA peak, for a 0.05% duty-cycle, 400 kbits/second bi-directional communications application.

The SubQore radio operates in the 402-405 MHz ‘MICS’ (Medical Implant Communications Service) frequency band – compatible with new FCC and ETSI standards – and offers a communications range of 6 feet/2 metres when implanted under the skin. The only other use of this band is for meteorological equipment, minimising the potential for interference.

The new MICS device is likely to find applications in implantable pacemakers, defibrillators, remote telemonitors, orthopaedic devices, pump controllers, nerve stimulators and swallowable imaging and diagnostic systems.

Since each medical application is different and requires a particular mix of control, monitoring and communications facilities, Cambridge Consultants expects to fine-tune the IC core for individual applications.