Nordic Semiconductor today announces that New York, NY-based MDCN Technologies has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘NeoRhythm’ smart headband. The headband was developed by Slovenia-based electronics manufacturer, L-Tek, and the company claims it is the world’s first smart gesture-controlled headband, and the only device of its kind to employ an advanced multi-coil structure.
NeoRhythm is designed to stimulate brainwaves to help the user sleep better, de-stress, or focus. The non-intrusive wearable is based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) technology that produces frequencies which encourage the human mind to function in an individual’s preferred state. NeoRhythm has been scientifically programmed to generate specific dominant rhythms that mirror the mind’s naturally-occurring frequencies. Each frequency matches a ‘state of mind’ that humans associate with specific activities. The user can select from seven different stimulation programs: ‘Improve Sleep’, ‘Deep Relaxation’, ‘Build Mental Capacity’, ‘Pain Control’, ‘Deep Meditation’, ‘Calm Meditation’, and ‘Energy and Vitality’. The device integrates a 3-axis accelerometer with built-in motion detection, so the user only needs to tap the wearable with their fingers to activate or stop/change the chosen stimulation program.
Powerful Arm processor
NeoRhythm employs a TAIYO YUDEN ‘EYSHJNZWZ’ module integrating the nRF52832 SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor to help run its multi-coil PEMF technology and built-in motion detection sensor. The processor is designed to support the Floating Point (FP) and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) computations typical of high-end wireless applications.
In addition, the user can wirelessly configure and control the NeoRhythm device’s settings—including light (night mode), vibration, and stimulation status—from the iOS and Android ‘NeoRhythm’ app on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone using the Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE connectivity. From the companion app, the user is able to select their desired stimulation program, as well as choose the duration of the program and track its progress.
In operation, NeoRhythm employs five strategically-positioned magnetic field-generating inverted coils and can be placed in any of five stimulating positions, with each one designed to directly and easily access the correct part of the brain to provoke the user’s desired state of mind. The coils target specific areas in the brain (prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, cerebellum, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe) or spinal cord. For example, if the user selects the ‘Energy and Vitality’ mode, the headband should ideally be worn over the prefrontal cortex region, while for ‘Pain Control’ the headband should be worn in a slightly lower position at the back of the head to better access the parietal and temporal lobes.
Extended battery life
NeoRhythm’s battery life ranges between four hours up to approximately six days (based on eight hours of use per day) depending on the stimulation programs chosen. When the device is not running it enters sleep mode to maximize battery life. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.
Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC combines the Arm Cortex M4 processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5.2-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports up to twenty connections.
“We selected the TAIYO YUDEN module with nRF52832 SoC for NeoRhythm due to its compact form factor and powerful processing and RF performance,” says Rok Šinkovec, Sales Manager at L-Tek. “In addition, Nordic provides good development examples, reference designs, and application engineers with fast response times. We value Nordic’s development support and large community of users, while Nordic’s Software Development Kit [SDK] proved very helpful when developing our own application code.”