Medical care applications with electronic devices are becoming progressively more important and massively adopted. These systems assist people in an interactive mode, by means of all the features of smart ICs that allow setting a system to enable it to monitor and control the health condition of a patient in real-time.
One of the big players in electronics for the automotive industry, STMicroelectronics, is very committed to develop safe and reliable ICs for medical applications (see Figure 1):
“Once a pathology is identified, a wide range of therapeutic devices such as ventilators, pacemakers, pumps, and stimulators can be used to assist or replace certain physiological functions as well as administer medication at specified schedule or provide therapy.” (Source:ST Microelectronics Therapy Equipment)
One of the more interesting examples of such applications is represented by powered beds:
“Powered beds can be adjusted to improve a person's comfort when lying flat or with one's head or feet raised. While primarily found in hospitals, adjustable beds are now used at home for patients expected to be bedridden for extended periods of time. The key element in a powered bed is the motion control for moving parts that need to be quiet and efficient. We have a large offer of power MOSFETs, monolithic motor drivers and STM32 microcontrollers as well as a comprehensive set of hardware and software evaluation and development tools to help design efficient motor control solutions.”
The block diagram of the electronic ICs utilized in a new generation power bed. (Source: Click on this link for a larger image: STMicroelectronics)
One of the most important elements of such a smart system is the integrated microcontroller, which acts as the brain of this solution (see Figure 2).
The block diagram of the ST microcontroller of the below Figure 2 shows how many functionalities this smart IC integrates to realize a real time control of the smart bed depending on the needs of the patient:
“These features make the STM32F411xC/xE microcontrollers suitable for a wide range of applications:
- Motor drive and application control
- Medical equipment
- Industrial applications: PLC, inverters, circuit breakers
- Printers, and scanners
- Alarm systems, video intercom, and HVAC
- Home audio appliances
- Mobile phone sensor hub” (Source: STMicroelectronics)
The block diagram of “The STM32F411XC/XE devices is based on the high-performance Arm Cortex -M4 32-bit RISC core operating at a frequency of up to 100 MHz The Cortex-M4 core features a Floating point unit (FPU) single precision which supports all Arm single-precision data processing instructions and data types. It also implements a full set of DSP instructions and a memory protection unit (MPU) which enhances application security.” made by the STMicroelectronics Company (Source: Click on this link for a larger image: STMicroelectronics)
What do you think about the e-health program? Do you think that the medical applications will benefit the utilization of smart electronic ICs?