Engineers building electromagnetic applications for the
healthcare industry just got clearance to use ANSYS simulation software as part
of their process for evaluating whether biomedical device transmitter designs
are compliant with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards.
The FCC ruled that ANSYS' finite element method (FEM) is
considered a valid technique to simulate a medical device that must communicate
with other similar devices. As a result, medical equipment manufacturers can
tap ANSYS' HFSS£software and leading FEM electromagnetic field simulation method
to evaluate the RF emissions and Specific Absorption Rates (SARs)of transmitter
designs in a digital world instead of having to manually build and test
physical prototypes. The move will enable medical device developers in this
field to reduce development time and costs without jeopardizing their
requirement of meeting safety standards.
While the FCC has recognized competing simulation methods,
this is a first for ANSYS. ANSYS
petitioned the FCC to grant a waiver to the Medical Device Radiocommunication
Service rules to permit FEM to be used to evaluate medical implant or body-worn
equipment and to be recognized as a sound engineering technique. ANSYS' HFSS£
software lets engineers design, simulate and validate the behavior of complex
high-performance RF, microwave and millimeter-wave devices in next-generation
wireless devices, biomedical devices, consumer electronics and defense
For engineers in this space, the ruling means more freedom.
"Now engineers have more choices in how they want to validate their
prototypes," explains Martin Vogel, ANSYS senior application engineer.
Engineers can either opt for the traditional route, which requires them to
build a physical prototype in a lab, measure it and send the results to the FCC,
or they now have a wider range of digital simulation methods to choice from.
"They now have a wider choice of methods and if they choose simulation, they
can work with the software they like best," Vogel says. "And simulating a
prototype in the computer is often a lot cheaper than building and measuring a
physical prototype in a lab."
The FCC ruling applies to transmitters that are placed
inside or in close proximity to the human body. It's a scenario that's more
common with today's sophisticated medical implants, which frequently employ
transmitters to communicate with other devices, usually to transfer
physiological data to a doctor via wireless communication. Developers of
medical devices have to ensure their equipment meets radio frequency (RF)
emission safety standards as well as that it complies with SAR regulations,
which is a measure of how the body absorbs energy when exposed to an RF
electromagnetic field. ANSYS' software can used to verify both SAR and RF