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Zarlink tailors new transceiver for 400MHz

Posted: 04 May 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:medical implants  transceivers  broadband automated communications 

Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. has released ZL70101, a wireless transceiver for medical implants optimised for an emerging 400MHz standard that will help pave the way for a broader and easier to use class of implants that support broadband, automated communications.

The transceiver supports the Medical Implant Communication Service (MICS), approved by regulators in the United States and Europe and gaining acceptance in Australia and Japan. It is geared for use in implanted pacemakers, defibrillators, nerve stimulators, implantable drug pumps and monitors.

402-405MHz band
MICS is defined for the 402MHz to 405MHz band, widely seen as providing reasonable signal propagation in the human body. The spectrum is open worldwide and provides greater range and bandwidth than currently popular inductive and capacitive coupling techniques.

To date, most implants use either ASICs or off-the-shelf transceivers aimed for a wide swath of wireless bands and thus not fully optimised. The new transceiver is optimised for transmission in the 400MHz range and delivers up a raw data rate up to 800Kbps while consuming just 5mA, which is 100 times faster than existing inductive approaches. In addition to the MICS band, the ZL70101 also supports the 433- to 434MHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical band.

MICS devices are designed to communicate automatically with a wireless base station using the same transceiver, typically over a two-metre range. The base station for a MICS-based implant can be placed outside the sterile zone during surgery, potentially simplifying the procedure. In home use, the base station can routinely forward data over a phone or Internet link to a doctor's office that remotely monitors the patient, scheduling check ups as needed.

Emergency detection
In addition, the ZL70101 supports a wake-up function that allows the chip to come out of a 250nA sleep mode when an emergency situation is detected or a regularly scheduled data transmission is required. The chip's MAC uses Reed-Solomon forward error correction and cyclical redundancy check error detection to insure a reliable data link.

The transceiver's base station uses a 7-by-7mm, 48-pin QFN packaged version of the chip. The implanted devices uses either a bare die now available or a bumped die flip-chip version coming later this year, according to Sahil Bansal, product line marketing manager for Zarlink's ultra low power division.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times




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