Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analogue semiconductors, has released the formation of the Medical Products Group (MPG) to address the emerging challenges of the medical electronics market through close partnerships with medical device makers. Many in the medical market have already realised the benefits of using Microchip's semiconductors, including small package sizes, low power consumption through nanoWatt Technology, and the ability to easily add connectivity to their products through on-chip communications peripherals, such as Ethernet, USB, the ZigBee wireless networking protocol, the IrDA infrared protocol and Controller Area Networking (CAN).
According to the FDA, aging baby boomers are driving a consumerisation of therapeutic and diagnostic medical devices, as more medical care is being done in the home. This trend is fuelling the development of smarter and easier-to-use consumer medical devices, the large portion of the US$100 billion medical device market, which is growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent, overall.
Microchip's broad portfolio of industry-leading 8- and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers, 16-bit dsPIC digital signal controllers, analogue and interface semiconductors, KEELOQ security products and non-volatile memory semiconductors is ideally suited to address the specific needs of the medical device market. Microchip offers high-performance microcontroller architectures with application-optimised peripherals and an easy migration path to re-use code in whichever microcontroller fits the application.
Additionally, Microchip offers low-risk development with all of its semiconductor products through a full suite of world-class development tools and software, including the free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment.
With the creation of the Medical Products Group, Microchip is bringing its unique advantages to a market that is large and growing. Advances in semiconductors are enabling unprecedented innovation in medical devices, and Microchip is playing a vital role in enabling this trend.
Microchip's semiconductors are designed to be horizontal and general purpose, enabling them to address a wide range of applications. Specific medical application examples include: Implanted Devices (cardiac rhythm management, neural stimulation, drug delivery, bariatric therapy); Portable Devices (diagnostic imaging, oxygen therapy, patient monitoring); Home-Use Devices (vital-sign monitoring, disease management, rehabilitation, compliance monitoring, medical information terminals); Security (authentication of consumables, data confidentiality).
Medical Design Support
In addition to a worldwide network of sales offices, regional training centres and distribution partners, Microchip has developed a comprehensive online Medical Design Centre. The centre is divided into four main medical-design categories: Data Acquisition, User Interface, Processing and Connectivity. Each section contains application notes, design guides, reference manuals, user guides, Tips n' Tricks documents, and detailed product and development-tool information to assist engineers in designing medical applications.