Fujipoly Europe Ltd
A thermal gap pad can be used in wearable devices and computer products used in medical applications. The Sarcon NR-c thermal interface material from Fujipoly Europe Ltd (Bletchley, UK; www.fujipoly.com
) acts like a traditional gap filler pad but will not lead to silicone contamination. In areas where space between surfaces is uneven or varies and where surface textures are a concern regarding efficient thermal transfer, the supple consistency of the pads can be used to fill air gaps and uneven surfaces. For instance, the product’s conformable characteristics make it suited for conducting heat away from components such as CPUs and semiconductors to a nearby heat sink or heat spreader.
The thermal gap pad offers a thermal conductivity of 1.5 W/m·K with low thermal resistance. It is available in thicknesses ranging from 0.5 to 2 mm. The nonflammable material is available in individual sheets up to 150 mm by 100 mm and can also be die-cut to exact application specifications.
A compact, high-performance embedded computer is a rugged industrial system with a fanless design. Operating silently and reliably in harsh environments, the ARK-6310-3M04E from Advantech Corp. (Irvine, CA, USA; www.advantech.com
) features an Intel Atom 1.6-GHz processor and the Intel 945GSE chip set on an integrated Mini-ITX motherboard. The chip set’s onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 enables it to deliver dedicated 3-D data, video and graphics to fulfill diverse application requirements. The versatile, all-in-one embedded box-type personal computer for space-restricted industrial automation and other applications is a platform with considerable expansion capability.
With all of its electronics protected within a cold-rolled-steel housing measuring just 232 × 65 × 232 mm, the embedded system offers extensive input/output (I/O) connections, including 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 3 COM ports, VGA, and PS/2. It supports the Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, Windows Vista Ultimate X86/Business X86, Windows CE6.0 Pro V1.1 and Red Hat Fedora Core 9 Linux operating systems. The system has a cushioned antivibration design, and its bottom cover is designed to facilitate access to the CompactFlash socket on the back of the embedded motherboard. A built-in bracket is provided to support wall and table mounting.
A manufacturer has added two series to its PX family of dc-dc convertors. The fully isolated PXA and PXB series have a 1 × 1-in. footprint and are available in open-frame and shielded metal-case versions. The PXA series from TDK-Lambda (Achern, Germany; www.tdk-lambda.com) offers single-output models with nominal inputs of 24 V and 48 V dc in 2:1 and wide 4:1 versions. The PXB series offers both single- and dual- output models with nominal inputs of 12 V dc in a 2:1 version and inputs of 24 V and 48 V dc in 2:1 and wide 4:1 versions. The PXA is available in through-hole or surface-mount formats; the PXB comes in a through-hole mounting format. Remote on and off and output adjustment features are offered as standard. All models include overvoltage, overcurrent and short-circuit protection.
Thor Medical Systems
Several types of embedded systems of varying complexity are available from Thor Medical Systems (Budapest, Hungary; www.thormed.com
) A field programmable gate array (FPGA) available from the company contains millions of logical gates, special function units and programmable connections between internal gates and units. FPGAs are flexible constructions: by harnessing the power of configurability, special circuits can be created by using legacy schematics or by using dedicated hardware description languages within an IC package.
FPGA configuration can be modified between each development step. Firmware may be upgraded on-site by end users. An FPGA may include a complete microprocessor with special custom peripherals.
SpiroThor runs a Linux embedded operating system that supports most peripherals by default. Custom drivers have been implemented for WaveFront processing, display and necessary special hardware drivers for the kernel. The kernel also supports a number of file systems (JFFS2 and YAFFS designed specially for Flash memories, FAT for SD cards, etc.) With the file system support and the integrated flash memory, a large amount of patient data and medical records can easily and efficiently be stored in the device. Using the standard interface of the graphical controller, standard graphical framework can be used even with a touch-screen control panel.
Intel Atom–powered Z5xx embedded computing boards based on the Intel-named 45-nm-technology Menlow platform are available from Avalue Technology (Taipei, Taiwan; www.avalue.com.tw
The company’s ENX-US15WP Nano-ITX motherboard, whose dimensions of 120 × 120 mm suit it for any low-profile embedded design, features advanced 3-D graphics, hardware video decode acceleration and a high-definition audio interface. It supports dual independent display functions and can run all day long without the need for a fan.
Portwell (UK) Ltd
Suitable for a range of low-power, wide-temperature, and fanless devices in medical applications, an embedded system board from Portwell (UK) Ltd (Didcot, UK; www.portwell.com
) uses the Intel ECX form factor. The PEB-27378 supports the latest options of the Intel Atom processor Z5xx series and the Intel System Controller Hub US15W, including industrial temperature range. The board is designed to operate at a power consumption of less than 10 W at full loading. It supports dual independent display by LVDS and SDVO daughter card (DVI/VGA/LVDS, project-based).
Texas Instruments GmbH
To accelerate and simplify the development of battery-powered, portable medical devices, Texas Instruments (Freising, Germany; www.ti.com/medical
) has designed a medical development tool set with a complete signal chain and software offering for various diagnostic and patient-monitoring applications. The three medical development kits, which are based on the company’s TMS320VC5505 digital signal processor (DSP), can be built with an analogue front-end module and a TMS-320VC5505 DSP evaluation module. These kits give manufacturers a jump start on designing electrocardiograms, digital stethoscopes and pulse oximeter products. Each kit includes both hardware and software design tools including schematics, sample application code, medical-specific algorithms and collateral that eases the design process and decreases development time. The flexible kits can be mixed and matched with multiple processor platforms for maximum software reuse.