Meter-on-a-chip tackles portable health applications

January 08, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Addressing multiple portable health applications including wearable vital signs monitors for sport and fitness, point-of-care diagnostics and self-test health devices, Analog Devices has developed a low-power meter-on-a-chip. The ADuCM350 single-chip scalable platform combines a 16-bit analog front-end (AFE), which includes a configurable multi-sensor switch matrix, hardware waveform generator and discrete Fourier transform (DFT) engine, with a processing subsystem and an industry-standard software development environment to support a complete product development roadmap.

The ADuCM350 meter-on-a-chip is designed to offer easy connectivity to passive and active sensors and to support sensor fusion functionality, enabling highly accurate measurements of human physiological data even in the presence of interferers.

Target environments for the product are, among others, wearable health monitoring devices, such as smart watches and sophisticated pedometers, as well as point-of-care diagnostics. According to ADI, the ADuCM350 is optimized for system-level performance and signal measurement accuracy, including those monitoring devices powered by a single coin-cell battery, and features a precision AFE with a 16-bit accurate, 160-kSPS A/D converter, +/-0.2% accurate voltage reference, and a 12-bit D/A converter.

Passive complex impedance sensing on the ADuCM350 enables baseline detection and detailed information of physiological, biological and electrochemical reactions, at levels previously unattainable. The fusion of passive and active sensors provides an additional level of signal measurement accuracy, and environmentally robust capacitance-to-digital technology on-chip supports new use cases such as skin electrode detection and next-generation electrochemical test strip technologies. The precision AFE performs auto-calibration ensuring repeatable measurements in the field for the life of the product.

From the perspective of product developers, the new ADI meter-on-a-chip represents a flexible platform that supports product development roadmaps from entry-level to feature-rich devices. Sensor fusion functionality allows designers to expand product measurement capabilities. For example, the ADuCM350 platform can support calorie burn applications by combining galvanic skin response for heart rate and respiration, with an ultra-low-power 3-axis MEMS accelerometer for altitude and motion detection. The peripheral set of communication I/O including USB, audio, display, serial and touch supports differentiation and feature expansion.

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