Reconfigurable Embedded Medical Systems

Reconfigurable Embedded Medical Systems

Tammara Massey (University of California, USA), Foad Dabiri (University of California, USA), Roozbeh Jafari (University of Texas, USA), Hyduke Noshadi (University of California, USA), Philip Brisk (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne,Switzerland) and Majid Sarrafzadeh (University of California, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-002-8.ch016


This chapter introduces reconfigurable design techniques for light-weight medical systems. The research presented in this chapter demonstrates how the wise use of reconfiguration in small embedded systems is an approach that is beneficial in heterogeneous medical systems. By shrewdly designing embedded systems, one can make efficient use of limited resources through efficient and effective reconfiguration schemes that balance the tradeoffs between power consumption, memory consumption, and interoperability in heterogeneous environments. Furthermore, several reconfigurable architectures and algorithms presented in this chapter will assist researchers in designing efficient embedded systems that can be reconfigured after deployment, which is an essential feature in embedded medical systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Medical Motherboard: A platform that connects sensors to a collection of relatively small, low-powered processing units (motes), and is intended for use in medical embedded systems.

Network: A group of computing devices that communicate with one another wirelessly or through a wired connection.

Algorithm: A well-defined procedure that usually takes some input, carries out a number of finite steps, and produces an output.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Mandates that a healthcare provider who “maintains or transmits health information shall maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of the information; and unauthorized uses or disclosures of the information.” (“Health Insurance Portability”, 1996).

Code Migration: When one embedded system downloads a program or module to be executed on another embedded system.

Electrocardiogram: A recording of the electrical signal of the heart through electrodes placed on the heart or limbs of a patient; it is used to diagnose different medical conditions of the heart.

Reconfigurability: The ability to rearrange components; in the context of embedded systems, it is the ability to dynamically being able to change the hardware or software after the system has been deployed without manually reprogramming it.

Security: The ability of a system to protect information and system resources in order to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data.

Moore’s Law: processor performance to double approximately every 18 months due to continuous breakthroughs in transistor technology.

Circuit: A hardware component that consists of resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors are formed directly onto the surface of a silicon crystal; several circuits form a microcomputer chip used in many computers

Embedded Medical Systems: A light-weight special purpose system that uses medical sensors to detect the vital signs of an entity.

Embedded Systems: A special purpose system that usually has limited resources (memory, computational power, and bandwidth) and is usually dedicated to a specific task.

Plug and Play: A paradigm allows the addition of new peripheral without manual installation of additional software.

Architecture: The overall structure and organization of a computer system, in particular the hardware or software of the system.

Protocol: The rules governing communication in hardware and/or software.

Operating System: Software that manages and coordinates the hardware resources on a computer.

Med Nodes: Stand-alone components consisting of a processing unit, external sensor boards and a battery that support various types of sensors for physiological reading from the human body.

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