Monday, June 24, 2024

Wearable Electrocardiogram Reference Design

The Wearable ECG reference design measures heart rate data and movement and enables IoT connectivity for health management.


Electrocardiogram (ECG) heart data, which provides a detailed look at heart function beyond simple beats per minute (BPM), is increasingly utilized in fitness applications and medical device technology. With the growing significance of medical remote patient monitoring, the integration of wearable ECG features has become essential. Our Connected, Wearable ECG Demonstration Board is designed to facilitate the development of sophisticated fitness trackers and can also be incorporated into medical wearable systems for remote monitoring and diagnostics. The Wearable ECG reference design from Microchip measures complex heart rate data and computes other cardiac-related metrics. Additionally, it tracks patient movement using an onboard accelerometer. 

The ECG Demo Board is a platform designed to assess the capabilities of the Microchip ATSAML22N18A ARM-based microcontroller, along with other components like the BTLC1000-MR110CA and ATECC508A, within a wearable ECG context. It uses Atmel Studio’s integrated development environment to provide straightforward access to the ATSAML22N18A’s features and showcases its integration in an ECG setting. Equipped with the BTLC1000 BLE module, the board facilitates communication with tablets, smartphones, or PCs, enabling IoT capabilities.

The ECG Demo Board operates in several modes. The Normal mode is the default setting and includes three specific sub-modes: ECG mode, which is the primary default, Standalone (DEMO) mode, and USB (DATA) mode for data transfer. Additionally, the board features a Low-Power mode designed to conserve energy during operation.

Normal mode is the default operational state after a system reset, during which all system components are activated and ready for use. In this mode, users can measure ECG parameters and step counts, read and write to serial flash, and choose to operate in either USB or Demo mode. Additionally, this mode allows for interfacing with a mobile app, enabling a range of interactions and data management options.

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Low-Power Mode on the ECG Demo Board is designed to minimize power consumption when the board is not actively being used. This mode is exclusively accessible from the ECG monitoring mode and activates automatically if there is no interaction for five seconds while in the ECG monitoring mode. During Low-Power Mode, the Super-Low Contrast Display (SLCD) is turned off, and all unnecessary peripherals, clocks, and external components are disabled to conserve power. However, PTC Monitoring and RTC remain enabled with the SleepWalking feature to maintain essential monitoring. Entry into Low-Power Mode is blocked while in DEMO or USB modes, which require continuous operation for their specific functionalities.

Microchip has tested this reference design. It comes with a bill of materials (BOM), schematics, assembly drawing, printed circuit board (PCB) layout, etc. You can find additional data about the reference design on the company’s website. To read more about this reference design, click here.

Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal is a journalist at EFY. She is an Electronics and Communication Engineer with over five years of academic experience. Her expertise lies in working with development boards and IoT cloud. She enjoys writing as it enables her to share her knowledge and insights related to electronics, with like-minded techies.


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