Zarlink introduces implantable wireless system-on-a-chip
11 May 2007
Ottawa, Canada. Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. (NYSE/TSX:ZL)
has introduced a new microchip, the ZL 70101 transceiver, an ultra low-power
radiofrequency (RF) system-on-a-chip solution for use in both implanted
medical devices and monitoring base stations.
on Zarlink’s MICS technology platform, the ZL70101 transceiver chip delivers
high data rates, low power consumption and unique wake-up circuitry. The new
chip will allow medical device manufacturers to design in-body communication
systems that will improve patient care, lower healthcare costs, and support
new monitoring, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Previous home health-monitoring systems required the
patient to accurately position an inductive wand over the implanted device.
In comparison, using Zarlink MICS technology, patient health and implanted
device performance data can be stored in the implanted medical device’s
memory and wirelessly transmitted to a base station, without requiring
Data can then be forwarded over the telephone or Internet to a
physician’s office. If a problem is detected, the physician will schedule a
patient follow-up visit where the two-way RF link can be used to interrogate
and adjust implanted device performance.
During surgery to implant medical
devices, the longer operating range of the ZL70101 chip allows the base
station/programmer to be located outside the sterile environment. This
potentially shortens surgery times and reduces healthcare costs, as
programming equipment does not have to be sterilized for use in the
Ultra low-power RF technology is also enabling a range of
new diagnostics and therapies, including implanted devices used to monitor
and treat diabetes, neurostimulators that alleviate chronic pain or lessen
the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and gastric
stimulators that may offer a viable alternative in the treatment of obesity.
“As in-body communication systems evolve to support advanced diagnostics and
therapies, it’s critical that radio performance does not impact the battery
life of an implanted medical device,” said Steve Swift, senior vice
president and general manager, Ultra Low-Power Communications, Zarlink
Semiconductor. “The ZL70101 transceiver offers unparalleled data rates and
ultra low-power consumption performance in a highly integrated package,
backed by Zarlink’s established expertise in meeting the unique quality
requirements for devices intended for human implant.”
Ultra low power
To help conserve implanted medical device battery life,
in-body communication systems transmit data on a scheduled or as-required
basis. The ZL70101 transceiver incorporates a unique “wake-up” receiver that
allows the integrated circuit to operate in an extremely low current 250 nA
(nanoamp) “sleep” mode. Communication is then initiated using a specially
coded wake-up signal from the base station transmitter. The implanted
medical device can also wake up the ZL70101 radio on detection of an
emergency medical event. An emergency signal could then be sent to the base
station, which in turn could directly alert paramedics.
When in full
operation the ZL70101 typically consumes 5 mA (milliamps) of supply current.
By using the high data rate with heavy duty-cycling, the average power
consumed by the ZL70101 can be very small. This conserves overall implanted
medical device battery life.