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Date: 22-11-11

Reference design to wirelessly connect medical devices

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a home health hub (HHH) reference platform to help medical equipment manufacturers quickly and easily create remote-access devices that can collect, connect and securely share health data for improved healthcare management.

The HHH reference platform is based on Freescale's i. MX28 applications processor and ZigBee and sub-1 GHz transceivers. It enables secure WiFi and Ethernet connectivity to remote devices with displays, such as tablets, smartphones or PCs with medical-specific remote user interface (UI) options. The platform also can provide wired and wireless connectivity to end healthcare devices, such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucometers, weight scales, pulse oximeters and more via ZigBee, sub-1 GHz, USB, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy including medical-class-specific device profiles.

"We have proven technology out there to monitor patients and connect their data to the cellular network, such that a healthcare professional could intervene instead of the patient having to go to the emergency room," said Kent Dicks, founder and CEO of MedApps. "We've found this to be extremely effective."

Freescale says the HHH reference platform software adheres to Continua device profiles to provide consistency and compatibility with other Continua-certified medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and weight scales. The platform also enables connection to the Microsoft HealthVault, a privacy- and security-enhanced online data repository that lets users organize, store and share their health information.

The HHH reference platform consists of an aggregator/gateway board based on the low-power i.MX28 applications processor (built on the ARM9 processor) running various connectivity interfaces to healthcare end devices and wireless or wired connectivity for a remote user interface. Also included is a panic alarm sensor based on Freescale's MC12311 sub-1 GHz radio, providing personal emergency response system (PERS) functionality. To complete the reference platform, software such as board support packages (Linux and Windows Embedded Compact 7) and example code are included.

"If you think about all of the different devices in a healthcare ecosystem, Windows Embedded allows our partners to align on one trusted technology platform," said Lorraine Bardeen, marketing director for Windows Embedded EMEA at Microsoft. "This collaboration with Freescale builds upon Microsoft's vision for the evolution of intelligent systems by helping medical manufacturers and healthcare organizations capture the full potential of connected medical data."

The HHH reference platform consists of the aggregator/gateway board, panic alarm sensor, quick start guide, cables and software. Freescale has partnered with Digi International to bring the HHH reference platform to market. The iDigi Telehealth Application Kit is available for purchase through Digi International for $499 (USD) at www.digi.com/hhh. Digi has extensive experience with the i.MX portfolio and provides customized system on module and design services. For more information, visit www.freescale.com/homehealthhub.

"Network connected medical devices improve quality of care by providing real-time access to critical patient data," said Frederic Luu, VP of Sales and Marketing, EMEA, Japan and Asia, Digi International. "We are excited to partner with Freescale to make it easier for medical device manufacturers to develop network-enabled products."

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