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First Wireless Chip Designed for In-Body Communication Systems Debuts

Originally Published MPMN July/August 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

First Wireless Chip Designed for In-Body Communication Systems Debuts

Susan Wallace

Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, ON, Canada; www.zarlink.com) has introduced the world’s first transceiver chip designed exclusively for wireless communication systems that link implanted medical devices and base stations. The ZL70100 ultra-low-power transceiver chip fully meets the MICS and ETSI standards.

The company’s ultra-low-power radio-frequency technology allows high-speed 500 Kb/sec data transmission over a typical 2-m range. In comparison, previous implanted communication systems relied on magnetic coupling between coils in an in-body device and a base station. This approach operated up to a 10-cm range, with data transmission rates of less than 50 Kb/sec.

“Our MICS radio platform ensures implanted medical device manufacturers can design systems that meet strict global standards,” says Zarlink’s senior vice president and general manager of ultra-low-power communications, Steve Swift. “The higher data rate and extended communication range of our radio transceiver enables advanced in-body communication systems, such as implanted blood-glucose sensors controlling insulin intake for diabetes patients, networked stimulators restoring lost limb function, or pacemakers using the high-speed wireless link to signal emergency response during a cardiac event.”

Since most implanted medical devices do not require constant communication, and instead transmit data on a scheduled or as-required basis, the average “sleep” current is a key design factor. The ZL70100 radio transceiver contains an ultra-low-power wake-up system with an average current demand of 200 nA.

The unit supports transmission rates of 800 Kb/sec for raw data and 500 Kb/sec for usable data, while consuming less than 5 mA of supply current while active. With the ability to aggressively duty-cycle the radio transceiver, the product allows implanted devices to quickly transmit large amounts of patient health and device performance data with minimum impact on the battery life of the implanted device.

The ZL70100 chip requires just two external components excluding antenna matching, allowing manufacturers to use circuit substrate space savings to increase battery size and support advanced functionality.

The transceiver chip is available in a 48-pin quad flat no-lead package and as a bare die.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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