How to design connected drug delivery devices

By Thomas Søderholm December 20, 2017

electrocardiogram-2858693_1280.png

Connected drug delivery systems can improve quality of life for patients, reduce work for professionals, and save money for healthcare providers, but designing them can be difficult.

Getting the product right is usually a matter of compromise between cost, battery life and design. You can often get two out of three spot on, but rarely all three. If you want a small design, you must sacrifice some battery life. If you want to do everything for everyone, costs will increase, and if you want a device that does everything and lasts forever on a single battery, your design is going to become extremely complex.

> Read more: Smarter medical monitoring

Nordic Semiconductor’s chips use very little power to deliver high throughput of data and can run for months on a single small coin-cell battery. The small size enables solutions to be developed that can fit into tiny spaces without compromising the design too much.

Choosing a chip

The main choice initially is between Chip Scale Package (CSP) and Quad Flat No-leads (QFN). CSP is a simpler package that’s generally smaller. QFN, on the other hand, will likely be bigger.

Smaller isn’t always better. In QFN, a lot of the work is done for you so it’s simpler to integrate into a product. A two-layer circuit board will do the job, whereas with CSP you’ll likely need a more costly four-layer design.

Unless the smallest possible size is your primary goal, a QFN will most often be the more cost-effective route to a reliable product. The increased cost of the chips is offset by the ease of the circuit board design and at 5mm the size is small enough to fit into the form factor required by most devices.

Battery life

The main consideration for battery life is ‘How long does my product need to last for?’. A single-use injectable, or a pen-injector that lasts for six months before being replaced, will be able to do a fair amount of computing on a single battery. If your device needs constant or very frequent connections then you’ll need either a bigger battery or a rechargeable or replaceable solution.

Bluetooth 5 chips require very little energy to run. With most applications, Nordic chips can run for months, or even years, on a single battery. Our chips can help you make sure that you won’t need to compromise on battery life to make a great product.

Bringing down costs

A ‘cheap’ solution can end up being more costly in the long run. Parts are usually cheap because they’re poorly designed or poorly manufactured. Investing a few more cents in a product that has a track record of reliability and efficiency can make your overall solution cheaper.

Safeguarding the patient’s health

The most important considerations outside of product design are security and safety. Any medical device needs to be approved, usually by a government body like the USA’s FDA. How secure a device needs to be depends largely on its function. An injection pen that talks to a smartphone is going to be secure by design, but it also needs to be safe from data corruption to ensure dosages can’t be wrong.

> Read more: Security of connected medical devices

Nordic Semiconductor is already designing into FDA-approved products and we have a wealth of software and hardware testing experience that can ensure your time to market is reduced by getting it right first time. Whether you choose to develop your own products in-house or work with a preferred specialist partner, we can support you all the way through the process.

We offer a total solution, with support in all aspects from concept to market, to ensure you produce a product with great features, great battery life and great design at an affordable price.

 

Get Connected: Wireless Connectivity for Tech Dummies Download the free eBook now 

 

Topics: medical


Thomas Søderholm's photo

By: Thomas Søderholm

Thomas Søderholm holds a Master of Science in electronics from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway in 1999. He has 17 years of experience within the industry, having worked as a digital designer and Regional Sales Manager for Nordic Semiconductor in Europe. As of now, Thomas has a position as Business Development Manager at Nordic Semiconductor. This role include world wide responsibility for the wearable market.

Epost

Comments

Get Connected Blog

This blog is for you who are new to the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT) - whether you are a senior executive, in product development, or simply a curious soul.

Our goal is to inform you, keep you updated and help you understand the opportunities and challenges of IoT for your industry.

If you are a developer, you may want to check out our blogs and developer guides in the DevZone

Visit www.nordicsemi.com

New Call-to-action

Latest Posts