Keynote Presentation at IoT&5G World Conference:
By Itay Sherman, Powermat CTO
Current research shows that Covid-19 has expedited medical IoT and medical device technology growth, especially in remote patient care and mobile healthcare (mHealth). Consequently, the global IoMT market is expected to reach $540B by 2025.
- Adopting IoMT products in the healthcare system is changing the way we “consume” our healthcare service.
- The internet of medical things (IOMT) can dramatically improve patient care and save millions of lives by providing easy cost-sensitive access to medical care.
- IoMT products can act as personal emergency response systems, allow patients to leave hospitals sooner, reduce clinic visits significantly, give doctors reams of accurate data and provide superior patient comfort.
Leading Technology Trends in IoMT
- Connectivity – Connectivity and specifically Wireless Connectivity, enables advanced patient monitoring, remote patient care, and real-time monitoring and treatment. Connectivity technologies may include NFC, BLE, Wi-Fi, and data over the wireless power link.
- MHealth or mobile device base health – Patients’ mobile devices become critical tools in providing data processing, diagnostics, and connectivity to healthcare providers (E.g., home medical exam kits, real-time patient monitoring, and more).
- Miniaturization – making devices portable and implantable, enabling new levels of patient care with miniaturized devices.
- Enhanced Data Security Related to Connectivity –
(1) prevention of device hacking
(2) Personal medical data storage and usage under data privacy laws such as GDPR.
Top 3 Challenges in IoMT Product Development Today
- Battery Life – Challenges in battery life are impacted by:
- The need for improved and higher connectivity speed
- The need for higher speed and higher processing of controllers
- The need for an increased number of sensors and continuous monitoring
- The need for smaller portable devices
All of these create a need for higher capacity yet smaller batteries. However, battery chemistry and capacity advancements have been slow and are far from catching up with the demand.
- Portability – The need for medical device portability comes as a result of demand for:
- A constant flow of reliable medical information can allow designing improved and accurate tailor-fitted medical plans for patients.
- Improve patient user experience, including the ability to “wear” their device
The latest trends in IoMT translate into the following product needs:
- Smaller products for better user experience – “patch-like” seamless products which do not impact the patient’s quality of life or day-to-day activities.
- Port-less products – meaning zero contamination, enhanced user experience, freedom of placement – especially in elderly care and lifestyle-focused medical devices.More extended time frames between charging
- Patient Safety – when looking at patient safety, one of the most significant user safety issues is the risk of contamination. Covid-19 has raised awareness for this issue, and UV sanitizers have become prevalent. However, one of the most vulnerable points in sanitizing medical devices is their exposed charging ports. These ports prevent simple sanitization using liquid solvents and are also prawn to get contaminated. A sealed device with no ports would be the ideal solution for this issue.
Key Benefits of Wireless Charging for Medical Devices:
- Devices are 100% Isolated: Wireless power provides an easy, low-cost solution to power up 100% isolated products. No ports to seal, no exposed metals & easy to sterilize
- Ease of Positioning: Easy drop-and-charge solution which requires no accurate alignment. Providing superior user experience to plugs and mechanically complex docking stations
- High Efficiency: High-efficiency charging enables fast charging of device battery while maintaining battery health.
When examining basic principles of wireless power, the most prevalent technology is magnetic induction. Magnetic induction is also known as inductive charging or resonant charging, and they both rely on the same basic principles. These principles have been known for more than 100 years where the alternating source on the primary coil creates an alternating current, and the alternating current produces an alternating magnetic field, which is then absorbed by the receiving coil, which creates an alternating voltage on the secondary coil.
Once we add to that system resonance circuits in both the primary and secondary coils, we can enhance the capability of the system to transfer power and increase its efficiency.
There are two recommended approaches to designing the wireless power system described above:
- We can go down the path of leveraging the Qi standard, which is the most common and can be found in many consumer electronics and most smartphones, as it provides interoperability with the Qi ecosystem. It is typically designed for smartphones, with coil diameters ranging from 35-50mm.
- The other approach is to create a proprietary system. The proprietary systems use similar concepts to the Qi technology but are tailor-fitted to the unique needs of medical devices such as small or non-plenary coils ability to design unique flexible and higher efficiency systems which enable charging at higher misalignments and higher speeds.
Combining Data & Wireless Power
As previously discussed, data connectivity and wireless power are an inherent part of medical IoT devices. There are several approaches to combining them in a product:
The first option would be to use a separate wireless power system and a radio system. When looking at the radio system, we can operate with long-range radio such as Bluetooth BLE or wi-fi (operating at the 2.4 GHz bandwidth). We can use either ISM bands such as the 433 or 915 MHz using dedicated radios. Or leverage one of the dedicated medical bands such as the 608, 1395, or 1427 MHz.
The solutions mentioned above share the same benefits as they have long-range capabilities and have various chipsets available for integration. However, they all suffer from the same deficits:
- The issue of interference once you’re operating with long-range radios, there’s a good chance that your operation will be interfered with by other radios in the area.
- There is also an issue with the wireless link itself. In a wide-range situation, it can be hacked or jammed. However, a very short range, such as NFC, which operates at 13.56 MHz – allows for a low interface due to the very short range of operation and the increased security. But, it is also costly, and the range that it offers is extremely limited and forces direct contact between the receiver and transmitter.
Another way to approach this solution is to combine the data and power into a single device that offers you wireless power transfer and data transfer over the wireless power link. However, in this case, the Qi standard speeds are extremely low (up to2KBPs). Powermat’s proprietary solution enables increasing these speeds and reaching speeds up to 100KBps over the power link with no extra cost associated with the inclusion of data transfer capabilities.
Additionally, leveraging this approach allows for low interference due to the confined field of the magnetic solution, enhanced security, and low but sufficient range to support the receiver to transmitter connection. The only drawback when combining the two is that the solution needs to include wireless power to gain data connectivity.
Powermat Technologies provides advanced Qi-certified and proprietary wireless charging platforms for automotive, robotics, consumer electronics, medical devices, IoT, telecom (5G), and Industrial applications. Founded in 2006, Powermat Technologies is a global provider of wireless charging platforms and the first to bring wireless power technology to consumers worldwide. With over 200 patent submissions and over 100 granted patents dating back to 2007, Powermat enables emerging businesses worldwide to incorporate advanced wireless charging into their products and customize solutions for unique use cases. The company’s inductive wireless charging technology can already be found in over 500 million devices and has already been adopted by global market leaders such as Samsung, LG, General Motors, Flex, Harman International, Kyocera, and more.
Learn more about Powermat’s wireless power solutions for medical devices and IoMT.