AFE simplifies portable ECG systems

Low-cost, portable, and widely available medical monitoring devices promise to transform the health care industry. This equipment evolution depends on component manufacturers and embedded designers that can compress multiple measurement strategies into a low-power, small form factor patient monitoring device. With a large step in this direction, Texas Instruments (TI) recently introduced a family of Analog Front End (AFE) devices with on-chip respiration impedance measurement and user-selectable phase adjustment. These new 24-bit ADS1298R AFE devices reduce the component count and cut the power requirements of portable electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment by integrating more than 40 discrete components. ADS1298R devices are available in four-, six-, and eight-channel versions and include Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs), programmable gain amplifiers, active filters, a voltage reference, and multiple specialized ECG interfaces. The ADS1298R performance demonstration kit includes evaluation software, built-in analysis tools with oscilloscope displays, external reference circuits, and the ability to export data in test files for post-processing. The AFE devices are all available now in an 8 mm x 8 mm BGA package. Pricing for 1,000 units ranges from $25.95 for eight-channel devices to $13.95 for the four-channel version.