Microchip Silicon Enables Innovation in Medical and IoT Markets

Posted on July 8, 2020 by Matthew Russell

The moped crash that almost took Nick Kelley’s life left him in a coma for nearly a month. He woke up with a cracked skull, broken jaw, and a paralyzed arm.

Kelley chose to have his arm amputated rather than risk further health issues. He spent the next seven years adjusting to doing everything with his right hand.

Then his life was changed by College Park Industries’ Espire Elbow.

College Park’s Espire Elbow enables freedom of movement for Nick Kelley.
Source: YouTube/Vick Chi
College Park’s Espire Elbow enables freedom of movement for Nick Kelley.

This prosthetic elbow is controlled by the electric impulses in Kelley’s muscles, which also operate an added bionic hand. The innovative design has made it easier for prosthetists to adapt the device to their patients’ needs. It’s given Kelley greater freedom of movement, and much more.

“I plan on going fishing and holding a fishing pole and reeling it in. I can’t even think, I’ll use it every day, it will be like the shirt I put on,” he told WBAY after being fitted with his new arm.

Innovative medical product developers like College Park are connecting their products to the cloud to improve UI/UX and the quality of care that healthcare practitioners can provide their patients. That’s not always a simple task. Medical device software must meet rigorous FDA specifications to ensure patient data is not exposed and critical processes are not interrupted. Anything less could put the patient at risk.

Source: YouTube/Vick Chi
Kelley now has more control thanks to a custom-fit Espire Elbow from College Park.

The Espire Elbow was a unique challenge for College Park. It was their first foray into upper limb electronics, and the first myoelectric device for the development team, which called on DornerWorks to help engineer the full product ecosystem.

DornerWorks navigated College Park toward a mobile application for tablet/laptop usage. It allows the patient ease of movement and practitioners a greater and immediate understanding of their patient’s issues. Hardware engineers designed the main control and DSP boards used in the device, each featuring a Microchip SAM E70 ARM microcontroller, while a Bluetooth module provides connectivity.

The Microchip devices used for myo-control signal processing can compute complex math functions and perform real-time signal analysis simultaneously, while meeting the elbow’s stringent power budget requirements and making the most of its battery.

Through iterations and a collaborative partnership with DornerWorks, College Park developed a product that set their name above the rest. They developed a product that gave Nick Kelley greater freedom. They developed a product that has improved the quality of life for hundreds, and promises to do the same for countless others in the future.

As a Microchip Authorized Design Partner, DornerWorks has guided a number of companies in other industries to remarkable products using Microchip devices, including:

  • Safety-Critical Rad-Hardened Ethernet Networking – Microchip’s RTG4 radiation tolerant FPGAs enable this solution that will improve the quality of life for space travelers on NASA’s Orion missions to the moon and Mars.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Minivan – Two Microchip PIC microcontrollers enable the motor control and interface with a vehicle, detecting when it is in park, and monitoring other aspects.
  • Ultrasonic Treatment Device – A Microchip PIC30 family processor runs the software DornerWorks developed for this device used to administer and record medical treatments, which represents a major step forward in user interface for the client’s product line.

Modern technical products often require much of their processing platform. Like the engineers that build them, these platforms must accomplish a variety of tasks according to rigorous specifications. They are just as often specialists as they are jacks of all trades, sometimes being asked to get more done using less resources. For years this trend has coincided with the capabilities of available processors, but processing power isn’t the only requirement of modern technological advances. As seen in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry. security and cyber-resilience is critical to new smart, connected and secure IoT-enabled medical devices.

Microchip offers many silicon solutions that enable IoT medical products, providing a platform for sensor data fusion and secure, reliable cloud integration. DornerWorks can help you accelerate integration of those solutions into your own products. Schedule a meeting with us today and map out a plan to grow your business with remarkable new products.

Matthew Russell
by Matthew Russell