Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home health gadgets ride USB, BT

Tomorrow's consumer health care gadgets will ride Bluetooth and USB—at least an early wave coming next year. That's because the Continua Health Alliance officially backed those interconnects as part of their first-generation logo requirements announced today. Continua is an ad hoc standards group that includes a who's who of medical device companies trying to enable home health care systems.

Its no surprise the ubiquitous USB will be big in these future gadgets. It's more of a big deal that Bluetooth got the nod because it is not as broadly used yet, outside cellphones. Though it is mature, there are more emerging wireless options than you can shake a stick at. As I blogged earlier, researchers are prototyping medical devices with cellular, RFID, ultrawideband and Zigbee nets.

Add one more to the heap. Texas Instruments announced today its SimpliciTI network protocol, a proprietary low-power radio frequency (RF) protocol targeting simple, small RF networks of less than 100 nodes. TI baked support for the protocol into its MSP430 microcontrollers and CC110x/CC2500 transceivers. TI says it aims to complement Zigbee, reaching into smaller nets than Zigbee would typically embrace.

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