To be successful with patients suffering from chronic disease, home telehealth devices should focus on users and services and make the technological content as seamless as possible.
Consequently, the underlying electronic platform at the heart of those patient centered devices should embed ‘appropriate but unobtrusive’ technologies and be flexible enough to accommodate for device personalization based on chronic disease and patient-led requirements.
Freescale’s reference platform is powered by either a main or backup battery (for increased reliability in case of a power outage)and provides the technology framework that allows device manufacturers to connect wired and wireless biometric devices, used in chronic disease management, to the cloud.
The platform’s wired and wireless connectivity foundations allow device manufacturers to focus on their value add differentiators rather than focusing on connectivity aspects. By streamlining the overall end user experience, patients can seamlessly and securely transmit vital health data from their homes to their physician’s offices.
To reduce overall system complexity, and allow for the development of cost-optimized and power efficient devices, the platform has been built around Freescale’s i.MX28 applications processor  which integrates security, power management, and connectivity features unmatched in similar ARM9®-based system-on-chip.
For connectivity, the platform features Ethernet and WiFi to ease Internet and cloud connectivity, and USB and Bluetooth to guarantee interoperability with biometric devices. It features Freescale’s MC13226 ZigBee system-on-chip and Freescale’s MC12311 sub-1GHz system-on-chip (Figure 1) so ODMs, OEMs and other forward thinking houses can implement innovative use cases like motion detector driven patient movement logging or even flood-, smoke- or fall-sensor driven emergency alarms.
To allow for maximum scalability and allow device makers to get the most out of the platform, the latter comes with a modular software framework that allows for new services or connectivity interfaces to be added at any time, as required.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.