Light therapy system provides non-invasive neuromodulation to treat health issues


CytonSys’ CytonBrite employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC for Bluetooth LE connectivity between smartphone and controller unit

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that health industry technology solutions company, CytonSys, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing and wireless connectivity for its ‘CytonBrite®’ patient care solution. 

CytonBrite is an LED-based near-infrared light therapy system designed for small clinics or home use on targeted areas of the brain. The neuromodulation device aims to improve human cognitive performance and provide non-invasive treatment to patients for numerous health issues, for example to improve sleep quality and mood regulation. Based on research in the field of photobiomodulation (PBM), CytonBrite provides low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on the brain to promote the neuron’s energy performance at cellular level by irradiating photons on treated locations, according to the company. The CytonBrite headwear features six light emission modules that can be simultaneously and flexibly secured at selected locations on the cap (according to the international 10-20 EEG mapping system), and a button interface box for physically starting/stopping therapy sessions. 

In addition to the Bluetooth LE connectivity, Nordic’s nRF52840’s GPIO flexibility is very useful and the internal timers simplify our implementations
Dr. Lida Huang, CytonSys

Complex algorithm data processing

A controller unit integrating Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC controls the modulation parameters for the light therapy. The complex algorithm data processing capability for CytonBrite is powered by the Nordic nRF52840 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). The Arm Cortex M4 processor is combined with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) and a generous 1MB Flash and 256kB RAM memory allocation. From an associated iOS app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone, the user can configure settings for the controller unit—including the pulsing frequency and power density—via the Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE connectivity. 

The nRF52840 provides full Bluetooth 5 support including 2x on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbps); 4x range; 8x broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251 bytes, and an improved channel coexistence algorithm. The nRF52840 SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5.2-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data throughput Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s unique software architecture includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and the developer’s application code, simplifying development and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t get corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying the application code. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions.

Extended functionality

“In addition to the Bluetooth LE connectivity, Nordic’s nRF52840’s GPIO flexibility is very useful and the internal timers simplify our implementations,” says Dr. Lida Huang, CEO of CytonSys. “The nRF52840’s software architecture, over-the-air device firmware update [OTA-DFU] capability, and generous memory allocation also allow us to extend the functionality of the product in our next generation designs.  

“Nordic’s Software Development Kits [SDKs] were easy to deploy and significantly shortened development time. The reference designs, demo boards, and fast response on technical support offered by Nordic’s application engineers are also major advantages.”

Other commercially available CytonSys products integrating the nRF52840 include CytonLite and CytonElite (a package combining CytonBrite and CytonLite).