Medical equipment users and OEMs have long expressed an interest in wireless foot switches. Their interest has been kindled by:
- a desire to eliminate the “tripping” hazard cables may represent in the application
- a desire to have greater freedom in the foot switch’s location relative to the medical device it controls
- a desire to eliminate the potential for cable damage (the most frequent cause of foot switch failure is generally the result of carts/tables rolling over the cable)
- the benefits of easier cleaning/storage
For these reasons, wireless foot switches for the control of medical devices are gaining acceptance and growing in popularity, prompting OEMs to either design medical equipment for use with a wireless foot switch, or to accept a wireless foot switch as a pre- or post-sale option. Such designs introduce two new elements into the design of the medical device.
The first set of design considerations revolve around the use of wireless foot controls. Here, the design considerations are relatively straightforward, driven primarily by:
- The choice of a safe, wireless protocol for the application
- The choice of the batteries to power the foot control
- The replacement/recharging technique for ease-of-use
The second set of design considerations involves the associated wireless receiver located in or on the medical device itself. A number of less obvious considerations can greatly influence the receiver design. Among these are:
- receiver location
- receiver signal protocol to the host device
- pairing the receiver and foot control
- optimal use of foot control “status” information
Proper design choices can make installation easier, and optimize the overall wireless performance. This article looks at wireless protocol selection, battery selection, required operating voltage/space constraints, battery replacement/recharging techniques, wireless receiver design considerations, receiver signal protocols, and pairing issues.
To read the article, click here.
About the authors
Peter Engstrom is the managing director for Steute Meditech Inc. He holds a BSME degree from the Polytechnic Institute of New York, an MSME from Purdue University, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He has more than 35 years of design and application engineering, product management, and general management experience.
Maurizio Lauria is a product manager, also with Steute Meditech Inc. He holds a BEEE degree and a BS in Applied Mathematics from Stony Brook University and is completing his MBA studies at Marist College. Lauria has more than 10 years of application engineering and product management experience.