B-Secur, a developer of electrocardiogram (ECG) algorithms, has launched an ultra-low power sensor hub in collaboration with Maxim Integrated Products to deliver health information and insights to wearable wrist, finger and chest applications, such as smart watches, rings and chest straps.
The MAX32663A electrocardiogram biometric sensor hub comprises a Maxim MAX32660 ultra-low power microcontroller loaded with B-Secur’s U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certified HeartKey algorithms, which provides seamless communication with Maxim’s MAX30003 low power ECG sensor. The complete solution simplifies design and eliminates the burden of algorithm licensing to speed time to market.
The secure bootloader on Maxim’s MAX32660 Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller was a key reason it was used by B-Secur for the integrated ECG biometric sensor hub. “As a software company, building IP protection into our commercial framework is a natural part of our business model,” said Ben Carter, chief commercial officer at B-Secur. “The ability to use Maxim’s secure bootloader is a great vehicle to deliver our encrypted algorithms to our customers.”
In addition, Carter added, “Particularly in wearables, the end devices must be something a consumer will wear regularly, so board real estate is at a premium. Combining the advanced HeartKey algorithm features within the small form factor of the MAX32663A is something we know our end customers value.”
Maxim Integrated’s executive director for the microcontroller business unit, Kris Ardis, said, “We designed the MAX32660 family of microcontrollers as a secure algorithm hub to incorporate intelligent features in low power, small devices. B-Secur brings a rich suite of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared health algorithms, and Maxim brings its small, low-power sensor hub microcontroller and ECG front end hardware components. The MAX32663A ECG biometric sensor hub and MAX30003 low power ECG sensor provide design engineers with a tiny, proven, quick path to integrate powerful ECG analysis features into their next wearable device.”
Last month, B-Secur had announced it received U.S. FDA 510(K) clearance of its HeartKey software library. HeartKey is a suite of EKG/ECG algorithms that combine user identification, health and wellness to generate accurate data encrypted through the user’s unique heartbeat. This can be implemented across devices in home or healthcare environments, with the ability to run embedded on device, on the application layer and even via the cloud.
The FDA-cleared HeartKey algorithms can be quickly and easily integrated in semiconductors for a broad range of devices in the consumer wellness, health monitoring and medical technology sectors, enabling rapid integration of medical-grade EKG software with those devices. It also provides the potential for technology device manufacturers and healthcare service providers to generate advanced medical-grade wellness and health data from any device and platform.
B-Secur said that its FDA clearance comes at an important time for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the number one cause of death globally with an estimated 17.9 million people dying from the disease each year, representing 31% of all global deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
The company said that as well as consumer wearables, its software also has an important role to play in telehealth, which has become an emerging trend accelerated by Covid-19, by facilitating remote patient and clinician contact and heart health monitoring. The virus has also caused irreparable cardiac damage and arrhythmias in people with no underlying heart issues, making heart health and remote monitoring a key priority for patients, clinicians and health service and insurance providers around the world. Its technology enables the wearer to track their heart and respiratory health in real time, with the ECG sensor able to read heart rhythms and detect irregular patterns.