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Low power, high impact - Sponsored Tutorial

Ultra low power microcontroller enables portable medical applications. By Christian Hernitscheck.

Nowadays, portable medical applications can be found everywhere. Many of your relatives and friends will own battery powered medical applications such as blood pressure meters, cholesterol meters, blood glucose meters, body fat analysers or digital pulse or heart rate monitors. Most, if not all, will have a digital thermometer.
These all have something in common. There are five system level blocks: power or battery management; sensor element(s); amplification and A/D conversion of the sensor inputs; control and data processing; and some type of display (see figure 1). In general, these are battery operated, MCU controlled handheld devices that take measurements using various sensors. Obviously, the implementation of these blocks will differ greatly with the sensing, processing and information display demands of the meter type and feature set.

Christian Hernitscheck

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