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AFE extends battery life of portable ECGs

04 Dec 2012

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TI ADS1293

Texas Instruments Inc. has extended its ADS1298 analogue-front-end (AFE) portfolio with the introduction of what it boasts as the industry's most power-efficient 24bit, 3-channel AFE for biopotential measurement applications such as portable, battery-powered electrocardiogram (ECG) solutions, Holter monitors and wireless patient monitoring equipment. The ADS1293 is also the first device in the family that can support one to five leads with a single AFE to significantly reduce the size, power consumption and overall cost of scalable medical instrumentation systems, added the company.

Each channel of the ADS1293 can be independently programmed for a specific sample rate and bandwidth, allowing customers to optimise the configuration for performance and power.

In addition to the ADS1293, the company unveiled WEBENCH Medical AFE Designer. WEBENCH Medical AFE Designer simplifies and speeds system design with the ADS1293, enabling customers to design and configure the AFE online. They can then download configuration data to the ADS1293 evaluation module (EVM), reducing design time from weeks or months to a matter of minutes, TI said.

The ADS1293 claims to consume only 300uW per channel, 85-per cent less than alternative integrated solutions. It includes simultaneous digital ECG and pace signals on each channel. This eliminates the need for a dedicated pace channel, which reduces power consumption. In addition, it features built-in error detection with an alarm pin, relieving the controller from continuously polling for error conditions. TI added that the device allows independent shutdown on any functional blocks that are not in use.

TI stated that the AFE optimises signal path gain stages, which eliminates the need for analogue filters and reduces board space requirement, by integrating three 24bit delta sigma ADCs, four low-noise instrumentation amplifiers and EMI-hardened inputs, right leg drive amplifier, lead-off detection, and Wilson and Goldberger terminals. Likewise, it has programmable settings for DC and AC lead-off detection to increase design flexibility.

The ADS1293EVM can be purchased for $99. This evaluation module's development tool provides a user-friendly GUI with an interactive block diagram, which allows designers to try different system configurations with the chip quickly and easily. ECG and pace data can also be captured and saved for post processing. The ADS1293 development tool is also available online in the WEBENCH Medical AFE Designer.

The ADS1293 is available in a 5 x 5mm QFN package for $5.50 in 1,000-unit quantities.

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