Plessey samples ECG medical sensors
25101 EPIC Sensor Single Channel Demo Electrode (PS25201 EPIC sensor)
PS25101 is an ultra-high impedance solid state ECG (electrocardiograph) sensor probe assembly, complete with connecting lead and DIN plug termination, which operates with the PS25001A EPIC 60Hz Evaluation kit. It can be used as a dry contact ECG sensor without the need for potentially dangerous low impedance circuits across the heart. The resolution available is as good as or better than conventional wet electrodes.
Because of the large coupling capacitance to the body (around 1nF) the EPIC sensor’s internal electrometer can be used in differential mode to recover true surface potential ECG signals from the surface of the skin.
The device uses active feedback techniques to both lower the effective input capacitance of the sensing element (Cin) and boost the input resistance (Rin). These techniques are used to realize a sensor with a frequency response suitable for both diagnostic and monitoring ECG applications. The total voltage gain of the system is a function of both the input coupling capacitance (variable) and the internal sensor configuration.
EPIC sensors are designed for ECG applications for health and patient monitoring, as well as fitness and wellness applications. EPIC sensors could be built into stretchers for immediate monitoring of patients heart rate and respiratory action or built into clothing to monitor stress levels in emergency response personnel such as firemen. As the sensors are very compact and the detection circuitry requires very low power, the EPIC sensor opens up the opportunity for ECG monitoring over a long period of time so that abnormalities can be picked up during normal activities without the stress of being in a hospital or doctor’s room.
Plessey Semiconductors is sampling its Electric Potential Integrated Circuit (EPIC) sensors targetting ECG applictaions.
“The first EPIC products are designed for ECG applications for health and patient monitoring as well as fitness and wellness applications,” said Derek Rye, Plessey’s marketing manager.
The EPIC sensor measures changes in an electric field in a similar way to a magnetometer detecting changes in a magnetic field. The technology works at normal room temperatures and functions as an ultra-high, input impedance sensor that acts as a highly stable, extremely sensitive, contactless digital voltmeter to measure tiny changes in the electric field down to milliVolts.
“The next release products available later in this quarter will be optimised for movement sensing where applications range from security, to automotive, to safety through to gesture recognition applications,” said Rye.
“We are working on end applications where the potential volumes are in millions per month. This is all very exciting for the company,” said Rye.
A feature of the EPIC sensors are that they are dry contact so that no gels or similar fluids are required to make contact. The sensors can be cleaned between uses – unlike conventional ECG sensors that have to be disposed of after every use at a cost of $2 a set.
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