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Ultra Low-Power System on a Chip (SoC) for Physiological Status Monitoring (PSM)


OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate an ultra-low power multi-node ambulatory physiological monitoring system where a System on a Chip (SoC) senses, processes, and communicates health state information to a standard Android smart platform. DESCRIPTION: Commercially-available medical-grade wearable physiological status monitoring (PSM) devices (e.g.,, are currently being used to (a) understand and improve the health and well-being of soldiers, and (b) collect quantitative data to guide improvements to the clothing and individual equipment that soldiers wear and use. For example, PSM systems are being used to assess the thermal-work strain imposed by training and deployment to harsh environments, and to document the physiological impact of wearing protective clothing ensembles. Currently available PSM systems are well-suited to these focused R & D applications where test durations are limited to a few days at most, and the system size, weight, power, and cost of current PSM systems can be tolerated. However, efforts to transition these legacy systems into routine use by military personnel to support tactical decision making (e.g., how much water do I need? When should I take a rest break? Who is most at risk of overheating?) is not yet practical. Current systems suffer from excessive size, weight, power requirements, cost, and use of proprietary technology that restricts the use of 3rd party sensors and algorithms, and a lack of a viable on-body low power short-range (2-5 m), low signature, low data rate, body area network data communication capabilities. To be successful a body area network data typically needs to be low-bandwidth, low-power, short-range, and have a minimal electromagnetic signature. Future broad use of PSM systems requires wear-and-forget technologies that can be used routinely for extended periods of time without recharging or replacing batteries. PSM systems of this type could be used to facilitate physical training , avoiding overtraining and musculo-skeletal injuries, host individualized models that facilitate mission and logistical planning (e.g., anticipate work rates and water and ration requirements), mission support, after action reviews, model validation & verification, model individualization, mission planning and tailored logistical support). An example of a high value application of next-generation SoC PSM systems is to promote the physical and mental fitness of soldiers and their family members through Activity, Nutrition, and Sleep Management (ANS) Towards this end, the Army is interested in promoting the development and maturation of integrated next-generation open-architected SoC PSM solutions. The deliverable would be a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 validation of the SoC PSM system demonstration and validation in a laboratory environment that includes (a) collection and processing of one or more physiological signals at a given node, (b) wireless transmission of collected data from one node to the SoC node serving as a gateway to an Android smart platform, and documentation of (c) ultra-low power requirements and (d) the reliability and validity of the data stream(s). PHASE I: Building on the baseline capabilities of relevant extant SoC PSM systems, design a practical plan for achieving (a) the desired hardware, firmware, network communication, and data display capabilities of the envisioned multi-node SoC PSM demonstration system described above, (b) and establish a plan for SoC PSM system test, evaluation and validation. No research or testing involving animal or human subjects will be needed. PHASE II: Using the Phase I plans, and building on existing SoC capabilities: develop, demonstrate and validate an ultra-low power, multi-node, miniaturized SoC PSM system capable of sensing, processing, and communicating individual physiological information to a smart Android platform for display. The SoC PSM system will (a) incorporate an ECG sensor (required) and incorporate other on-chip sensor types (e.g., skin temperature, accelerometry for activity and posture detection) (desired) and be able to link to off-chip sensors (e.g., photoplethysmography/oximetry) (desired); (b) have a processor capable of signal processing and data management (required), and execution of simple algorithms (desired), (c) have ultra-low power requirements (total power SoC power<100W (required) or<50W (desired); (d) and have at least one (required) or more (desired) integrated radios capable of interlinking SoC nodes and providing digital data feed suitable for input to a handheld computer (e.g., secure Android platform). The on-body personal area network operating frequencies and/or power output should be such that licensing is not required. Ultrawide band or narrow band radios are preferable to BlueTooth solutions. The demonstration SoC PSM system will include three (3) nodes (required) or four (4) nodes (desired) (sensor 1-3 and an Android node). The system is required to recognize family members, i.e., the distributed SoC nodes (chest, head, foot) that reside on a given individual and the associated SoC node that serves as the gateway with the hand held Android display. All associated nodes should pair without human intervention. Demonstrate (a) SoC signal processing, (b) reliable and secure data transmission from sensor nodes to a central SoC node connected to a handheld computer with display (e.g., Android smart platform), (c) delivery of digitized data suitable for Android platform data storage, processing, and display. The SoC PSM system will maintain accurate track of time so any data collected will be linked to a time line, even if the device is turned off or goes into a low-power mode. An open systems architecture is required that will accommodate third-party sensors and support the execution of simple Government-furnished algorithms that predict body core temperature from heart rate. This system is ultimately intended for general use by soldiers and is not intended to be a medical device that provides diagnostic information or information requiring medical knowledge to interpret. Testing involving animal or human subjects will be needed. A plan for cost-effective manufacturing of the SoC PSM system, including the associated components (e.g., antenna) and packaging, is required. PHASE III: The end-state of this work effort is a well-designed ultra-low power SoC PSM system capable of reliably collecting and processing and wirelessly communicating valid health state information over short 2-to-5m distances to an Android smart platform. The goal is to transition this SoC PSM technology to PEO-Soldier and US Marine Corps, and Special Forces Program Managers to meet their requirements for real-time physiological status monitoring. Pursue commercialization of SoC PSM opportunities in the health and well-being market space, or in the home monitoring and health care space, to address national needs related to obesity and diabetes prevention and management and reducing health care costs.
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