Nordic-powered module collects and transmits electrocardiogram data


Bravechip’s BCL601S1 employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC to run its ECG algorithm engine and transmit the acquired data via Bluetooth LE

Dedicated to providing ‘chiplet’ chip-scale solutions to the AIoT market, Bravechip has launched a miniaturized module designed for use in medical devices that supports electrocardiogram (ECG) readings. With a form factor of just 9 by 9 mm, the ‘BCL601S1 Bluetooth ECG Chiplet’ offers motion state detection, as well as heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) calculations. It can be used in a variety of Bluetooth® LE ECG product designs, such as dynamic ECG recorders, ECG patches, ECG watches, and ECG suits.

Powerful processing capability

The BCL601S1 is powered by Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC, and includes an ECG Analog Front-End (AFE), a G-sensor for collecting motion status, as well as 1 GB Flash memory for raw ECG data. Once this data has been collected it can either be downloaded from the device via USB, or using the Bluetooth LE connectivity of the Nordic SoC.

Nordic’s mature Bluetooth ‘stack’ helped make development faster and easier
Zongming Jin, Founder & CEO at Bravechip

“We selected the Nordic nRF52840 SoC largely due to its powerful 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor with floating point unit, which helped run the module’s ECG algorithm engine,” says Zongming Jin, Founder & CEO at Bravechip. 

Low power benefits

“The low power consumption of the chip was also a major drawcard. The BCL601S1 module can be powered either by rechargeable lithium batteries or coin cell batteries, and can achieve a power consumption of less than 0.5 mA in acquisition, transmission, and storage modes.”

This reduced power consumption is made possible thanks, in part, to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic nRF52840 SoC. The nRF52840 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system. 

“We employed the Nordic SDK [Software Development Kit] and made use of the driver library when creating our application code,” says Jin. “We found that these rich reference designs, the over-the-air [OTA] firmware upgrade capability, and Nordic’s mature Bluetooth ‘stack’ helped make development faster and easier.”

Bravechip has also released its 4 by 6 mm ‘BCL603S1’ chiplet designed for use in smart health rings. The BCL603S1 is powered by Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC and provides heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature, step, sleep and other physiological sensor data. The ultra-low power consumption of the nRF52832 SoC ensures the chiplet can power a smart ring for up to seven days between recharge.