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Design007-Nov2018

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NOVEMBER 2018 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 13 is evolving rapidly for cell phones and IoT can be readily applied to medical devices to solve some of the problems with gathering clinically valid data in less controlled envi- ronments. Shaughnessy: What advice would you have for any companies considering moving into the medical electronics field? I understand that the FDA regulations alone are pretty interesting to deal with. MacCallum: The traditional medical device market is quite different from consumer product development, the development cycle is longer, it is more highly regulated, there is a strong requirement for a methodi- cal and deliberate design process. Not only must the products we develop comply to the regulations, standards and guidelines, but the design and development processes that we follow to achieve this are also regu- lated. We are regularly audited to be sure that our processes continue to comply as the standards evolve, and that there is clear evi- dence that we are following those processes. This can seem from the outside like a real downer when we just want to get on with our engineering. Fortunately, most of the requirements boil down to good engineering practices. Shaughnessy: Is there anything that you'd like to add? MacCallum: The opportunities to design some really cool circuits in the medtech space seems to be growing without bounds. Embracing the latest and greatest tech that the semiconductor industry has to offer is a continuing opportunity, so long as we keep in mind the fundamental premise of ensur- ing the safety and efficacy of our devices. Shaughnessy: Thanks for your time, Ken- neth. We appreciate the update. MacCallum: Thank you, Andy. DESIGN007 Electronic Skin Points the Way North Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Ros- sendorf (HZDR) in Germany have developed an electronic skin (e-skin) with magnetosensitive capabilities, sensi- tive enough to detect and digitize body motion in the Earth's magnetic field. As this e-skin is extremely thin and malleable, it can easily be affixed to human skin to create a bionic analog of a compass. This might not only help people with orientation issues, but also facilitate interaction with objects in virtual and augmented reality. What was science fiction 16 years ago has now become reality, thanks to Dr. Denys Makarov and his team of HZDR researchers. All it takes is a sliver of poly- mer foil, no more than a thousandth of a millimeter thick, attached to a finger—and the Earth's magnetic field. "The foil is equipped with magnetic field sensors that can pick up geomagnetic fields," says the lead author Gilbert Santiago Cañón Bermúdez. With a sensor attached to his index finger, the user started out from the north, first heading west, then south and back again, causing the voltage to rise and fall again accordingly. In these experiments, pointing to the north corre- sponded to a movement of the panda to the left, point- ing to the south to a movement to the right. When the hand was on the left (i.e. magnetic north), the panda in the virtual world started moving in that direction. When it swiped in the opposite direction, the animal turned on its heels. "We were able to transfer the real-world geo- magnetic stimuli straight into the virtual realm," Makarov summarizes. (Source: Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf)

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