Electronics Solutions to Open Up Business Opportunities for Family Healthcare Market

The advancement of electronics and medical technologies has brought a revolution to the medical and fitness equipment markets, and a wide variety of traditional medical equipment has become home medical and fitness devices. Some medical equipment that was originally used in hospitals has now become home medical devices, wearables, and even implants. Physicians and hospitals used to be the main buyers of such medical equipment, while it is general consumers who are purchasing the new-styled home medical and fitness devices. The requirements of these home medical and fitness devices are different from that of professional medical equipment as well.

Compact and low-cost medical and fitness devices

Designed preliminary for indoor uses, traditional medical and fitness equipment has a larger size and is more expensive. By contrast, new-styled medical and fitness devices require longer battery life, higher reliability, and connectivity with smartphones and tablets to achieve portability or wearability, affordability, greater integrity, and user-friendliness. While consumers keep upgrading their smartphones and tablets, medical device manufacturers need to shorten the design cycle and develop new products in order to closely follow the newest trend of consumer electronics.

The trend of home medical and fitness devices seems unstoppable. It offers huge business opportunities of related wearable fitness devices such as implanted cardioverters, patient monitors, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, disposable pregnancy testers, sphygmomanometers, portable electrocardiography (ECG) machines, pulse oximeters, blood glucose meters, digital thermometers, oxygen concentrators, iontophoresis machines, and so on. The ability to integrate microcontroller (MCU), mixed signal integrated circuit, analog, secure data, wireless, sensor fusion, flash memory semiconductors and modules will be the key to launching products on the market faster.

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Microchip Technology Temperature and Humidity Sensors View

Minimum power consumption is the prerequisite for portable or wearable medical and fitness devices. In some occasions, the battery life must last for years. Therefore, battery life solutions must include ultra-low power consumption technology that provides low-current operation and hibernation to realize maximum battery life in a minimum product size.

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Microchip Technology DC to DC Converter and Switching Regulator Module View

In addition, with the rise of ubiquitous connections, the demand for remote medical care services and wireless fitness monitoring keeps growing. The latest development of smartphones and wired or wireless communication technology makes this interconnectivity a reality. Therefore, portable or wearable medical and fitness devices must support a wide variety of wired and wireless communication solutions, such as the USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart, and ZigBee technologies.

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Microchip Technology Bluetooth View

Currently, many device manufacturers have launched MCU-based solutions with external transceivers, modules, switches, controllers and hubs integrating with low-power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart modules for designers to quickly and seamlessly add wireless connectivity to medical and fitness devices for wireless connection with Apple iOS or Android devices to send key data over mobile networks and with support for data encryption algorithms to protect privacy against theft.

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Microchip Technology Microcontrollers - MCUs View

In the control interface, these devices must support touch sensing and other input sensing technologies, such as the metal-over-capacitive technology which enables total water resistance with a stainless-steel panel or the 3D position and gesture sensing product for designers to easily and conveniently add innovative human-machine interfaces to any medical or fitness applications.

In low-cost wearable devices, the demand for high-precision position processing is rising. These high-precision wearable devices often need to receive input signals from comprehensive sensors, such as motion/location (accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope) and environment (light, temperature and pressure) and must be integrated or “fused” in one single system. Solutions must support different types of sensors for you to easily and conveniently realize sensor fusion in the design.

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Microchip Technology Sensor Development Boards and Kits View

It is often difficult and time-consuming to make an analog design for medical and fitness devices. Currently, many manufacturers have launched MCUs to integrate many analog functions, such as the analog-to-digital converter (ADC), digital-to-analog converter (DAC), operational amplifier (Op Amps), and digital signal processor (DSP) to provide easy-to-use interfaces for analog design.

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Microchip Technology DC to DC Converter and Switching Regulator Module View

The design of new-styled medical and fitness devices must support higher function integrability and reduce overall power consumption, cost, and physical dimensions at the same time. With easy-to-use application development tools, appropriate utilities and supports, it enables enterprises to launch relevant products faster to the market.

In addition, as medical device manufacturers must continuously correspond to government regulatory issues, semiconductor suppliers must provide regulatory complaint products with longer life, higher quality, and higher stability. Therefore, they can reduce the regulatory burden of medical device manufacturers.

The shift of the use of medical and fitness equipment from traditional healthcare institutions to households represents enormous business opportunities. Therefore, how to reduce the size of large and expensive medical equipment and make it more affordable to general public will be the main issues to electronic product developers. Visit Microchip’s product offerings for more information.

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