Plessey enters the medical products market

October 24, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
UK chip maker Plessey is entering the medical equipment market for the first time with the launch of a hand held ECG monitor at this year’s Electronica Show.

Aimed at the home health market, the imPulse allows the routine, quick and accurate recording of ECG signals outside of the medical environment and without the need for conductive gel or skin preparation and will be sold by Plessey as a product rather than a reference design.
The compact, hand-held device detects an ECG signal when the user’s two thumbs are placed on the two sensor pads using two Plessey PS25201 sensors to recover the ECG signals. It measures the left and right signals and transmits the data via a Bluetooth link to a Smartphone or Tablet where custom software can then display the ECG trace and perform some simple analysis of heart rate. Using the latest generation of the EPIC sensor, which typically uses only 1.5mA during the short (15 seconds) period needed for ECG sensing, the imPulse has a very long battery life of several months before recharging.
“We have commercialised this innovative, multi-award winning, sensor technology from lab prototype to volume production of ICs in just over a year," said Barry Dennington, chief operating office at Plessey. "There is an incredible range of applications that customers are designing products for -- from monitoring vital signs to gesture recognition. However, we are constantly being asked for products based on EPIC so we have designed our own that we now have available.”
The EPIC sensor requires no physical or resistive contact to make measurements and enables new products such as medical scanners that are simply held close to a patient’s chest to obtain a detailed ECG reading or safety and security devices that can ‘see’ through walls. The sensor can be integrated on a chip with other features such as data converters, digital signal processing and wireless communications capability.
The technology works at normal room temperatures and functions as an ultra-high, input impedance sensor that acts as a highly stable, extremely sensitive, contactless digital voltmeter to measure tiny changes