Medical technology company Yarward Electronics has launched two wearables designed specifically for patient use in hospitals and aged care facilities, offering a wide range of features including patient location monitoring, health data acquisition as well as automated alerts and emergency calling. For example, the devices could be issued to residents of an aged care facility enabling staff to not only remotely monitor an individual’s key health metrics but also their location in the building.
The ‘YH-WR6’ smartwatch and ‘YH-WR7’ smart bracelet both employ Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC to provide Bluetooth® LE wireless connectivity to send data to a Bluetooth gateway. From the gateway the data is relayed to the Cloud where hospital or facility staff can review it via a web-based platform.
“These wearable healthcare devices have been specifically designed and developed with the needs of hospital patients and aged care facility residents, with their carers in mind,” says Wang Wei, Product Manager at Yarward. “As such they provide a convenient communication tool for medical and aged care staff to promote the rehabilitation of patients and the wellbeing of the elderly.”
The IP68 waterproof-rated devices integrate a host of sensors including an accelerometer for motion and activity monitoring; an optical sensor for heart rate and blood oxygen measurement; an air pressure sensor for calculating altitude; a temperature sensor; gyroscope; and an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen brightness of the smartwatch and reduce power consumption. The nRF52832 SoC’s 64 MHz Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) acts as the main microcontroller for both devices and helps oversee the inbuilt sensors. The nRF52832 SoC also enables the devices’ location monitoring functionality, allowing them to accurately track and display the location of the user - in case any patients become lost or wander off.
Both the smartwatch and the smart bracelet employ lithium batteries, providing several days of continuous operation or up to one month between charges when in standby mode. The absence of a screen on the smart bracelet extends battery life further. This endurance is thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. 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.
“We found the Nordic SDK [Software Development Kit] to be extremely useful during development,” says Wei. “As a company, Nordic provides a wealth of technical information and reference designs, making it easier for us to get familiar with developing solutions based on Bluetooth LE.”