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Electronics & Test

Case Study: Tiny Wireless Heart Monitor

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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
A great use case for wireless monitoring
Beth Stackpole   12/12/2011 7:34:11 AM
Between this post and the post last week on a device used to monitor vitals more for wellness purposes, we're getting a great picture of how smaller electronics, wireless technologies, and novel packaging are coalescing to deliver a new generation of wireless devices that can really raise the bar on patient care.

The software angle here is particularly interesting. Am I understanding correctly that the algorithms parse through the continuous data streams to highlight just essential data? Seems like it's akin to what's being called "big data" analytics" in the business world to uncover patterns and intelligence in everything from social media streams to data pouring off of wireless sensors. Pretty cool stuff.

Ann R. Thryft
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What's the wireless standard?
Ann R. Thryft   12/12/2011 1:03:58 PM
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I'm glad to know that WiFi is not the wireless network used here, since it's so eminently hackable.

That said, I'm not familiar with the ANT wireless transmission standard used within the hospital before the data goes to TCP/IP. How hackable is it? How secure is it?



Alexander Wolfe
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Medical Minaturization
Alexander Wolfe   12/12/2011 3:21:29 PM
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Medical miniaturization is clearly a new frontier in product design. The components and electronics capabilities are there. So the challenge now largely resides on the packaging and assembly side, including sophisticated, multilayer packages with adhesives etc. Software is also a key component. We've covered this numerous times this year; see for example "Small Device Brings Big Comfort to Post-Surgical Patients.

Alexander Wolfe
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Medical miniaturization
Alexander Wolfe   12/12/2011 3:22:19 PM
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Medical miniaturization is clearly a new frontier in product design. The components and electronics capabilities are there. So the challenge now largely resides on the packaging and assembly side, including sophisticated, multilayer packages with adhesives etc. Software is also a key component. We've covered this numerous times this year; see for example "Small Device Brings Big Comfort to Post-Surgical Patients.

Tim
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Platinum
Re: What's the wireless standard?
Tim   12/12/2011 9:47:52 PM
This technology has high potential to save lives, but in reading the article, I did not see any mention of encryption for the wireless signal.  I would think that confidentiality of patient records would be at the forefront of the technology.

Charles Murray
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Size matters
Charles Murray   12/12/2011 10:18:47 PM
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Don't know if I missed it in the article, but how big is this? Is it just a matter of taping it on the patient and leaving it there? Does it need to be wired to sensors around the body?

Battar
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Platinum
Re: What's the wireless standard?
Battar   12/13/2011 9:47:17 AM
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What possible commercial or criminal interest could there be in hacking this data? If the patient has already been through intensive care, his/her insurance credentials are shot, so the insurance companies don't stand to gain from intercepting data. Data security is therefore a non-issue - simple packet ID would be enough.

Noswad
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Gold
Re: Size matters
Noswad   12/13/2011 12:18:44 PM
There is a link to the manufacturer website. It is a self contained unit that transmit data to a central hub. It appears to be about 4-5" long and 1-2" wide.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: What's the wireless standard?
Ann R. Thryft   12/13/2011 12:36:26 PM
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I wish no one had to worry about hackers in any application, but we do. Unfortunately, data security is never a non-issue, and wireless networks are eminently hackable. At least in the US, confidentiality of patient records is a legal issue. So I'm still curious about the ANT standard and encryption.


InterestedinRF
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Iron
Re: What's the wireless standard?
InterestedinRF   12/14/2011 9:13:05 PM
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Full disclosure: I work in Nordic Semiconductor's marketing department. First, it's important to note that Lifetouch monitors are not currently being offered for commercial or clinical use in the U.S. The Isansys HRV011 is currently undergoing medical trials in a clinical environment in Europe. As in the U.S., patient confidentiality is a big deal there and transmitted data is fully encrypted. Isansys uses the ANT base protocol (see www.thisisant.com) but adds its own proprietary application layer for added security. As "Noswad" comments the only thing that's attached to the patient is the 'patch' shown in the picture at the head of the article.

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