Day: March 3, 2006

Medical Implant Communications Service Tutorial

More than you probably want to know about MICS. Established in 1999, the MICS rules apply to transmitters that support the diagnostic and/or therapeutic functions associated with implantedmedical devices to enable individuals and medical practitioners to utilize potential life-saving medical technology without causing interference to other users in the spectrum - that's the official text from the original Order. The Commission set aside the 402-405 MHz bandbecause the signal propagation characteristics in the band are particularly well suited for implantable applications due to signal propagation characteristics in the human body, the relative dearth of other users in the band, and the ability to stake out the band internationally. The MICS use of this band is secondary to the primary users of this spectrum - Meteorological Aids Service (Medaids), the Meteorological Satellite Services, and the Earth Satellite Service. Technical rules were established to minimize interference and ensure safe coexistence of multiple MICS devices. The MICS band is broken into 300 kHz wide channels. The rules specify that devices must "listen" for other devices before transmitting, called Listen Before Talk (LBT). If interference is encountered, the radio switches channels and listens again - known as "frequency agility." The rules also allow MICS devices to transmit without prior frequency monitoring in response to a non-radio frequency actuation signal generated by a device external to the body (i.e., manual activation), or in response to a medical implant event (i.e., alert or alarm condition). You can read more about MICS here (FCC Deals with MICS - Vendors Help...

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FCC Deals with MICS - Vendors Help and Hinder

Government documents are a great way to get an insiders view of several industries, and health care is no exception. This FCC Request for Waiver document is a gold mine of information. In this Request, DexCom asks for a waiver to the Medical Implant Communications Service (MICS) rules. (You can read my post on the product in question here.) We learn about the FCC's attitudes towards MICS, a lot about DecCom's product, and learn who opposed and supported the waiver before the FCC. The reason for the Request fror Waiver was that DexCom did not want to comply with all the requirements of MICS. In short, they felt that fully supporting MICS would increase the size of their implants and impact battery life to an unacceptable degree, and add too much cost to the product. The implantable blood glucose monitoring sensors come in two flavors, STS (short term - injectible probe that is replaced every several days) and LTS (long term - a fully implanted unit that lists up to 1 year). They will operate on only one frequency 402.142 MHz +/-40 kHz), using only 120 kHz of bandwidth. The power will be -20dBm conducted, less than that permitted in the MICS band. The sensors will broadcast for only 6-9 milliseconds every 5 minutes. DexCom stated that the combination of bandwidth, power and duration make the likelihood of causing...

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OQO Kicks Off Health Care Advisory Board

This week inaugurates the new health care advisory board for OQO. Behind this unassuming facade lies a company that's creating a new product category - a pocketable Windows device. You can read the specs here. Their goal is to transform personal computing the way the cell phone revolutionized telecommunications. Given the big dogs that are trying to follow, OQO must be on to something! I saw my first OQO a few years ago on Gizmodo. I actually laid my hands on an OQO last month at HIMSS (thanks Enoch!). That's when I met Baochi Nguyen who asked me to come speak at their first health care advisory board meeting. They have assembled almost a dozen wild eyed early innovator physicians from leading institutions on both coasts. I was asked to talk about "Wireless in Health Care" to help frame their discussions about health care adoption. This device offers a number of advantages for health care. As a Windows XP platform, it should be a snap to port applications to this device - much easier than dealing with PDAs. The size is just right - small enough for a lab coat pocket and a display big enough for my age-challenged eyes. Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth provide the connectivity. Finally, while they don't claim they have a "ruggedized" device, the OQO has a magnesium case and I think should survive most...

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