The world is going mobile. The acceleration of mobile technology has driven miniaturization, transforming what used to be desktop equipment into handheld devices. Gartner, Inc. predicts that 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management solution for their users over the next five years. Functionality needs to be on an even higher level as mobile functions like global positioning systems, acceleration sensing and long-lasting operation are a must for many mobile applications.
Expectations for medical portable devices to deliver desktop-level performance are also high. One recent example of how portable product engineering design is meeting that challenge in healthcare manufacturing is a GE Healthcare product called the Vscan. Such advancements in technology are revolutionizing how medical practitioners think about healthcare. All those expectations and demands lead to increased power and performance requirements within the boundaries of limited space and weight.
Designers must tackle the problem from different angles to optimize portable device design.
The power requirements to the system must be minimized. In most cases, this requires keeping system requirements down. This can be a difficult task, but very helpful to the device’s power budget. It also helps keep the product simple and easy to use and delivers more stable and reliable performance.
Designers must keep pace with the most advanced power management technologies at the level of both integrated solutions and discrete components. Advanced silicon technologies reduce power demands, increase integration and improve power conversion efficiencies. Use of low-power memory solutions, as well as the newest technologies for Radio Frequency communication, batteries, power conversion and microprocessors, also helps minimize power demand. Boost/buck converters provide better efficiency, and selecting inductors with higher quality value allows less energy to be lost as heat.
Diligent designers will develop smart systems to improve the portable device’s performance. In the hardware/firmware area, designers need to plan and define more elaborate working states that allow for different user scenarios and power consumptions. For example, states like off, hibernate, deep sleep, idle and standby help set the basis for an intelligent design.
Further, it makes sense to manage the device in different power modes. Separate power-integrated circuits could be used in combination with a clever local power supply unit design to support modes where most system components shut down completely, or go into an ultralow power mode. Good designs make use of dynamic voltage technologies where internal parameters – such as frequencies or temperatures – are measured, and the voltage is regulated accordingly. This is more efficient compared to designs that rely on a constant voltage supply where excess voltage is converted into heat.
In the software area, advanced power management techniques provided by the system should be used. Examples include dynamic frequency scaling, core voltage control and leakage management. Keeping central processing unit frequency down by using multi-core processors and making use of hardware accelerators is a perfect method to save power.
Finding an optimum design that meets increased power and performance demands as well as other product requirements like small form factor, low cost, rich features and easy use gets more and more challenging. However, through value engineering and collaborating closely within a design team, portable medical device designers can keep pace with that challenge. What is your design team doing to meet the challenge in designing medical portable devices to keep pace with the demand for increased power and functionality?
Learn more about working with Jabil’s design team and how delivering better products to meet shifting market needs and requirements, and ensuring access to advanced design capabilities will develop breakthrough, differentiated products.