Renesas today announced the availability of a Continua® demonstration platform based on the Renesas Electronics V850 energy-efficient microcontroller (MCU) with certified Continua Blood Glucose agent software. Implementing a blood glucose meter as defined by the Continua Health Alliance, the platform shows how the V850 MCUs implement complete software functionality at a level of power efficiency that ensures long battery life. As medical devices such as blood glucose meters gain enhanced connectivity in compliance with Continua guidelines, the energy-efficient V850 MCUs, at about 350uA/DMIPS with up to 1 megabyte (MB) of Flash memory and integrated USB function support, make it possible to handle the added software load without sacrificing the long battery life that end users have come to expect.
Low-power, high-performance microcontrollers enable Continua healthcare devices to store time-stamped measurements and automatically send the data to healthcare professionals. By eliminating the error-prone process of manually collecting such measurement data, Continua devices help improve the quality of medical data and of the diagnosis.
Demonstrates Ability to Support Extensive Software Functionality While Maximising Battery Life of Mobile Industry-Standard Medical Devices
The challenge in implementing these devices is that collecting and communicating the data adds a significant software burden to existing medical products. This software burden could become a human burden if the people who use these devices every day have to replace batteries frequently.
The Renesas Electronics 32-bit V850ES/Jx3-L MCUs relieve this burden with an extraordinarily high energy efficiency — 1.9 DMIPS/MHz — which enables the V850 devices to process more data than other MCUs at a lower frequency. In addition to minimising power consumption, low-frequency operation reduces the risk of electromagnetic interference (EMI). With up to 1 MB of Flash memory, the V850 devices have plenty of capacity to accommodate evolving standards for connected portable medical devices. The V850 MCUs also integrate USB support and a variety of other peripheral functions.
The Renesas Electronics V850 Continua demonstration platform implements a set of guidelines for blood glucose meters developed by the Continua Health Alliance — a non-profit industry organisation dedicated to establishing connected and interoperable personal health solutions. Alliance guidelines utilise key industry standards to ensure an end-to-end architecture from personal medical devices to hospital information systems. One such standard is ISO/IEEE 11073, which defines a medical device, the measurements that it makes, and a protocol for communicating the measurement data. For the underlying communication transmission method, the Continua guidelines specify open standards such as USB, Bluetooth® and ZigBee®.
While the Continua demonstration platform uses USB, the V850ES/Jx3-L MCUs can also support Bluetooth and ZigBee functionality. Further, the demonstration platform implements an optional persistent metric store (PM Store) to support off-line storage of measurement data. This PM Store enables a medical device to save measurement data until the device can connect to a network and automatically send the data.
The Renesas Electronics V850 Continua demonstration platform runs software from Lamprey Networks Inc. (http://www.lampreynetworks.com/), the developer of the reference code for the Continua Health Alliance. The software used in the platform has been certified by the Continua Health Alliance and is portable across multiple Renesas Electronics MCUs. Because the software is targeted to a specific type of medical device, the software footprint can be optimised.
In addition to the software that specifically supports the requirements of blood glucose meters, Lamprey Networks offers software for other types of medical devices, such as blood pressure monitors. Product developers can leverage this software to reduce time to market, as well as reducing the overhead involved in learning, and implementing and testing code developed from scratch. In this way, the V850 demonstration platform opens an immediate opportunity for companies that want to address the new market for Continua healthcare devices.