Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Maxim platform helps health product developers speed time to market

Steve Rogerson
November 7, 2016

Designers of health, wellness and high-end fitness applications can quickly validate next-generation products with the hSensor platform from Maxim Integrated Products.
Creating a custom board with sensors can be complex, as designers must first build custom hardware and firmware to validate their concepts and then build prototypes before starting any field trials. From there, they generally spend a significant amount of time evaluating sensors and existing products.
California-based Maxim’s platform is said to eliminate the extra three to six months it typically takes to develop a prototype by bringing all the hardware building blocks together on one PCB, as well as having readily-accessible hardware functionality with the ARM MBed hardware development kit.
The platform, offered as the Max Refdes100# reference design, includes an hSensor board, firmware with drivers, debugger board and graphical user interface. With access to firmware source code on Maxim’s web site, the platform allows designers to load algorithms for different use cases and adapt to their specific applications.
Users can download the firmware to optimise designs, enable faster evaluations, and reduce time to market.
The platform is said to be the only complete development platform available and is for health, wellness and high-end fitness applications such as chest straps, ECG patches, wrist-worn devices, thermometers, disposable temperature patches, blood oxygen measurement, smart weigh scales, and bio authentication. For example, someone can design a wearable patch to record ECG continuously on a single CR2032 battery for twice as long compared with today’s existing products.
“Maxim is committed to the wearables market, and the hSensor platform is a testament to this commitment,” said Andrew Baker, executive director at Maxim Integrated. “As we continue to develop solutions for new applications, we will expand the platform to support specific use cases.”
Included are: a low-power, single-channel integrated biopotential analogue front end; high-sensitivity pulse oximeter and heart-rate sensor; clinical grade temperature sensor; low power ARM Cortex-M4F microcontroller optimised for wearables; low quiescent current power management integrated circuit; and inertial sensors (three-axis accelerometer, six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope), barometric pressure sensor, flash memory and BLE radio.
The complete product measures 25.4 by 30.5mm, runs on a coin cell, and allows data to be monitored over Bluetooth Low Energy, stored in flash or streamed via USB.
“With Maxim’s hSensor platform, we’ve taken a very complex measurement process and made it simple and streamlined,” said Matt Banet, chief scientific officer at ToSense. “It offers an easy-to-use development kit which we have successfully implemented into our own hardware platform.”
Susie Inouye, research director at Databeans, added: “This new platform from Maxim will save designers from the tedious process of creating a custom board from scratch Enabling technology such as this is also key for driving costs down which will engage more consumers, particularly in the fitness application market where price point is still hindering demand.”