Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Design platform helps wearables check ECG, heart rate and temperature

Steve Rogerson
October 4, 2018

California electronics company Maxim has unveiled a wrist-worn development platform for creating wearables that monitor ECG, heart rate and temperature. The wearable HSP 2.0 health sensor platform is said to save up to six months of design time.
Designers seeking to enable continuous monitoring of various health parameters can now quickly create accurate wearable products using HSP 2.0. This rapid prototyping, evaluation and development platform, also known as Max Refdes 101#, brings the ability to monitor electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate and body temperature to a wrist-worn wearable, saving up to six months in development time.
When it comes to wearables, a wrist-based device is convenient for users to wear daily. However, it has been challenging to derive precise ECG monitoring from the wrist; most alternatives require a wearable chest strap. In addition, getting accurate body temperature typically requires using a thermometer at another location. Through its proprietary sensor and health monitoring technology, Maxim says it has overcome these challenges in the HSP 2.0.
Enclosed in a watch casing, the wrist-based form factor enables HSP 2.0 to provide basic functionality out of the box, with body-monitoring measurements starting immediately. Data can be stored on the platform for patient evaluation or streamed to a PC for later analysis.
The data measurements collected can be owned by the wearer, alleviating data privacy concerns and allowing users to conduct their own data analysis. Also, because it is an open platform, designers can evaluate their own algorithms on the board. In addition, the modular format can accommodate new sensors over time.
“Wearables are metamorphosing from being much more than a fun device for health and fitness,” said Roeen Roashan, senior analyst for healthcare technology at IHS Markit. “New capabilities are enabling healthcare professionals to use them as virtual care monitoring devices to assess chronic conditions and evaluate overall well-being. Innovations such as Maxim’s Health Sensor Platform 2.0 are helping to drive this evolution towards more proactive healthcare.”
The fully working hardware and firmware with companion watch casing can cut design and validation time by up to six months, says the firm. It integrates clinical-grade ECG along with heart-rate and body-temperature measurements into a wrist-worn format. For efficient evaluation and rapid application prototyping, the Mbed environment from chip designer Arm provides a high level of abstraction to eliminate maintenance of software tools and provide a library of open-source software.
“Patients and medical professionals are increasingly wanting more real-time exchange of accurate health data collected over an extended time frame, along with the ability to access these data from anywhere,” said Andrew Baker, managing director of Maxim’s industrial and healthcare business unit. “Wearable and medical device manufacturers can turn to Maxim’s HSP 2.0 to create accurate, wrist-worn health monitoring, shaving off up to six months of the typical development time.”
The product combines a number of the company’s electronic components: Max 32630 Darwin low-power microcontroller for wearables and IoT applications; Max 32664 low-power biometric sensor hub with embedded heart-rate algorithm; Max 20303 integrated and programmable power management device for low-power wearable applications; Max 30205 human body temperature sensor with ±0.1°C accuracy; Max 30001 low-power, single-channel integrated biopotential and bioimpedance analogue front end for wearable applications; and Max 86141 low-power optical pulse oximeter and heart-rate sensor for wearables.