Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in ADS Advance this week.

Soldiers on the battlefield are prone to all kinds of injuries. Some of the most common include musculoskeletal injuries, environmental injury and hearing damage. Now, the government is funding projects that could see soldiers utilise wearable tech to flag potential injuries before they occur.

To read the full article click here.

Henry Wadsworth, Project Engineer, features in IoT Global Network this week.

With the predictions of billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), the idea of having to change all the batteries is a logistical, practical and financial nightmare. Here, Henry Wadsworth, project engineer at Plextek, charts the rise of new energy harvesting technologies which are helping to power the growing Internet of Things.

To read the full article click here.

remote health monitoring device

Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Health Tech Digital this week.

We are all only too aware that early detection is absolutely key to improving the survival rates of serious illness and disease, never more so when it comes to cancer and other life-threatening conditions. But how can developments in tech and healthcare devices catapult this critical part of our wellbeing into useful reality?

To read the full article click here.

Telehealth Innovation – Connecting Patients to their Carers

“Poor health may be inevitable at some stage, but managing this period through early intervention leading to rapid diagnosis and treatment can minimise the severity of the condition, making hospital stays less likely and shorter”.
- Julian Holmes, CEO, Sanandco

The Challenge

Changing demographics and an ageing population is putting an increasing burden on the NHS, risking its ability to provide care free at the point of access.

Does technology have a solution to this problem? Can management of health be transformed by widespread deployment of low cost integrated medical devices capable of collecting basic patient physiological data and transferring it to cloud-based centres for analysis?

MonitorMe was conceived as a novel vital-signs monitoring telephone, simple to use but capable of providing rich information to healthcare providers and carers.

The Approach

The telephone handset is equipped with sensors to capture vital physiological signs and send them via telephone lines to a digital patient record, which could be analysed by a medical professional if significant changes were identified.

Plextek scientists thoroughly investigated the system requirements and created a whole-system simulation to understand the limitations of the system and test our intended solution.

We worked closely with the company throughout the development process, integrating four vital-signs sensors into a robust telehealth device capable of providing accurate information to a back-end patient database.

The Outcome

The delivered MonitorMe phone fully supported full-duplex DTMF signalling to a local telehealth server emulator. In order to interface with the public network the existing DTMF tones were matched to the connected network characteristics to protect the phone and user.

The Plextek team developed and delivered a solution that utilised appropriate design principles to allow eventual CE certification of the final product.

Completion of the development programme for this advanced prototype enabled our client to begin usability trials with hospitals in Leeds and Newcastle in order to acquire a CE mark and bring the product to market.

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Cost-effective Technology Development

"Plextek’s electronics design expertise has enabled us to provide a reliable and robust solution for temperature control at a cost acceptable to an over-the-counter, disposable device”.
- Paul Bateman, CEO Genosis

The Challenge

Our client, Genosis, had developed an OTC male fertility test which mimics nature by separating the motile (active) sperm from the non-motile (inactive) sperm and then measures them using a chemical test strip.

The sperm travel through a column of fluid which must be maintained accurately at normal body temperature, the best conditions for the motile sperm.

It is imperative that the temperature is precisely controlled for accurate read-out of motile sperm numbers, but any temperature regulator must be compatible with a disposable testing device.

The Approach

Plextek initially undertook a design study for Genosis which examined the potential options available for the fluid heating system: whether to use a simple discrete controller or a more flexible microprocessor based solution.

After reviewing the options, the Plextek electronics team developed an ultra-low cost but highly precise microcontroller that accurately regulates the temperature of the fluid column.

The basic functions were easily augmented so that temperature limit checking and module health functions were incorporated at no additional material cost.

The Outcome

The hardware & software design and manufacturing engineering was always undertaken in a way to minimise the factory gate cost, ensuring that the final product would be both reliable and affordable.

After thorough laboratory testing and extensive clinical trials, the product was successfully launched as an OTC product containing both male and female fertility tests and marketed through Boots.

The availability of an accurate, simple to use OTC screening test for male fertility affords couples earlier diagnosis which translates into a greater number of couples successfully conceiving and having healthy babies.

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