05-10-2016 | | By Paul Whytock
A sensor hub that is integrated as a system-on-chip (SoC) for use in wearable health devices has been designed by the nano-electronics and digital technology organisations Imec and the Holst Centre.
Creators of the SoC say it combines an unprecedented number of biomedical analog interfaces onto a single chip and includes digital signal processing, high fidelity operation and multi-day monitoring capability. It uses a single battery.
The biomedical analog interfaces include three ECG channels, photo-plethysmography, galvanic skin response and two multi-frequency bio-impedance channels. The design is claimed to be capable of supporting new applications such as impedance tomography, body fluid analysis and stroke volume measurements.
Imec and Holst Centre believe that while high performance multi-modal analog readouts have been achievable they lack on-board signal processing capabilities, or are too large in size. Alternatively, existing reconfigurable readouts are smaller, but have limited performance.
They say this SoC moves beyond current solutions and combines advanced biomedical readouts. It is supported by an ARM Cortex M0+ controller and accelerators for sample-rate conversion, matrix processing, data compaction and power management circuitry (PMIC).
The PMIC operates from a battery source (2.9- 4.5V) and generates the required voltages for the readout IC. It supports dynamic voltage scaling optimised for, but not limited to, low power and high performance applications.