Improving battery life in wearable patient monitors and medical patches

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Introduction

The market for wearable patient monitors is growing fast. The two main attributes for wearable monitors are portability (or size) and operating time (or battery life). Today’s wearable medical products not only measure vital signs but can also act as personal emergency-response systems. Portable and wearable applications are typically battery powered, and for consumers, battery life is one of the key purchasing considerations. The life of the battery is critical because most patient monitors measure and monitor continuously.

Battery-powered systems require careful partitioning, tight space utilization and efficient use of the available charge. It is important to enable more functionality while delivering power more efficiently in a tight space for a longer time. Functions like standby, sleep, power save, hibernate and shutdown are critical for designers to reduce power consumption and extend battery life.

Low-power microcontrollers (MCUs) and analog integrated circuits are available, but it won’t be possible to leverage most of the latest technologies in the design without optimizing power management. It is important to choose the right power architecture for the application to be more efficient and get extended battery runtimes.

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