Imec News

Monitoring your health with your mobile phone




05/10/2010

Leuven, Belgium and Eindhoven, The Netherlands – October 5, 2010 – Imec and Holst Centre, together with TASS software professionals have developed a mobile heart monitoring system that allows to view your electrocardiogram on an Android mobile phone. The innovation is a low-power interface that transmits signals from a wireless ECG (electrocardiogram or heart monitoring)-sensor system to an android mobile phone. With this interface, imec, Holst Centre and TASS are the first to demonstrate a complete Body Area Network (BAN) connected to a mobile phone enabling reliable long-term ambulatory monitoring of various health parameters such as cardiac performance (ECG), brain activity (EEG), muscle activity (EMG), etc. The system will be demonstrated at the Wireless Health Conference in San Diego (US, October 5-7).

The aging population, combined with the increasing need for care and the rising costs of healthcare has become a challenge for our society. Mobile health, which integrates mobile computing technologies with healthcare delivery systems, will play a crucial role in solving this problem by delivering a more comfortable, more efficient and more cost-efficient healthcare. Body Area Networks (BAN) are an essential component of mHealth. BANs are miniaturized sensor networks; consisting of lightweight, ultra low-power, wireless sensor nodes which continuously monitor physical and vital parameters. They provide long-term monitoring, while maintaining user mobility and comfort. For example patients who are no longer compelled to stay in a hospital could be monitored at home.

The newly-developed low-power interface wirelessly transmits bio-signals retrieved by imec and Holst Centre’s Human++ BAN sensor nodes to an Android mobile phone where the data are collected, stored, processed, and sent over the internet to make them available for authorized users such as a physician. The interface is based on a standard Secure Digital Input Output (SDIO) interface on Android mobile phones, enabling the integration of all the features available on Google’s operating system (SMS, e-mail and data transmission over the internet, GPS to track user location). Moreover, the mobile phone’s hardware is extended to operate with low-power communication protocols and low-power radios, enabling long-term medical telemonitoring. As the interface is based on the Linux kernel, the system is also easily portable on other Linux-based devices, such as PDA’s or laptops. And, the system allows configuration of thresholds on the measured parameters and automatic sending of alerts such as SMS messages and e-mails based on these values.

Watch the movie.

ECG signals wirelessly transmitted to an Android mobile phone via a low-power interface.
Caption: ECG signals wirelessly transmitted to an Android mobile phone via a low-power interface.
Click on the picture to download the high-res version.


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About imec
Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2009, imec's revenue (P&L) was 275 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shangai) Co. Ltd.).


About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.
Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 150 employees from around 25 nationalities and a commitment from more than 30 industrial partners.
Visit us at www.holstcentre.com

About TASS
TASS software professionals is a provider in technical and embedded software. A people-oriented organization that has been on the cutting-edge of technology and development for high-tech products, for more than 30 years. TASS is a service-oriented company that employs 250 software professionals at multiple locations in the Netherlands and Belgium. Having been a subsidiary company of Royal Philips until 2007, we are now a successful and independent company. For more information about TASS please visit our website www.tass.nl

Contact:
imec: Hanne Degans, External Communications Officer, T: +32 16 28 17 69, hanne.degans@imec.be
TASS: Froukje Pennings, Communications, T: +31 40 25 03 217, Froukje.pennings@tass.nl



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