ORLANDO, FL -- Freescale Semiconductor and Monebo Technologies, Inc. announced this week they have partnered to put electrocardiogram (ECG) technology on a chip. The new “ECG-on-a-chip” marks the first time analytical electrocardiogram capabilities have been placed on a microcontroller.
Engineers from both companies said the partnership will enable designers to more easily incorporate ECG analysis capabilities in hospital monitors, medical event recorders, stress test systems, portable home devices and a host of other end products. The advancement is meaningful for medical design engineers because it lowers the development cost of their products and shortens time to market.
“It becomes a drop-in for anyone who needs ECG analytics,” said Patrick Kothe, vice president and chief marketing officer of Monebo Technologies, Inc.
The partnership, announced at the Freescale Technology Forum here, has significance for medical patients because it could put ECG analysis capabilities into a new breed of more portable ECG products, including heart rate monitors and bedside systems. Up to now, microcontrollers have incorporated the ability to display an ECG waveform, but they have not been able to analyze the incoming signals and determine if an abnormality, such as a heart arrhythmia, was present.
“Product developers have been looking for a solution that includes cardiac analysis,” Kothe said. “Today, they usually have to write the software themselves.”
Monebo’s solution, called Kinetic ECG, processes signals from the heart and then analyzes the ECG waveform. The company’s algorithm, which reportedly has a smaller software footprint than other ECG software packages, includes heartbeat detection, feature extraction and rhythm interpretation for ECG data captured from up to 16 electrical leads.
Freescale incorporates the software product on a variety of its own microcontrollers, including the eight-bit HCS08, 16-bit digital signal controller, 32-bit ColdFire, PowerQuicc and i.MX devices.
Kothe said the partnership with Freescale was a natural because of Freescale’s low power consumption and scalability, which fit well in a wide spectrum of products.
“The scalability and low power make sense for the (heart) event monitoring space,” Kothe said. “They come together to make a powerful product offering.”