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Can wearables function as second galvanic skins?

Posted: 09 Dec 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearables? Galvanic Skin Response? GSR? electrodermal response? amplifier?

At INDICON, engineers showed an example of how acute hypertension can be predicted.2 Health and fitness devices can be developed to monitor any and all of the parameters in Figure 4 and then the designing company can add their other "special functionalities" depending upon their target markets.

Wearables developers can now immediately evaluate GSR sensing with the MAXREFDES73# reference design from Maxim. Using a mobile device for Android, a user will be able to monitor their skin resistance and temperature within 20m through the Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless interface.

Figure 4: Health and fitness devices can be developed to monitor any and all of the parameters shown in this diagram. (Image courtesy of Maxim Integrated)

I have this demo at home and I am very impressed with its usefulness and ease in setting up as well as simplicity in operation. I see why this complete demo system will help designers of health and fitness wearables not only understand GSR and the other important tenets of monitoring, but also cut a designer's precious development time down significantly to help meet time-to-market goals. See figure 5 for the complete system diagram and figure 6 for a basic block diagram.

Figure 5: The MAXREFDES73# reference design block diagram. The MAX32600 contains the Analogue Front End (AFE), ADCs and DACs. (Image courtesy of Maxim Integrated)

Figure 6: The front of the watch showing the electronics and battery. (Image courtesy of Maxim Integrated)

Figure 7: The back of the watch showing skin contact electrodes. (Image courtesy of Maxim Integrated)

Figure 7a: GSR reference design from Maxim Integrated #MAXREFDES73# (Image courtesy of Maxim Integrated)

This battery-powered platform takes high-precision AC impedance measurements while consuming very little power. The MAX32600 microcontroller features an ARM Cortex-M3 32bit RISC CPU that operates at up to 24MHz, while integrating multiple high-performance analogue peripherals.

Analogue features include a 16bit ADC with PGA, two 12bit DACs, and a 16-channel multiplexer along with classic digital features such as 256KB of flash memory, 32KB of SRAM, and a 2KB instruction cache. This reference design provides a high-performance and flexible development platform, which is a foundation for many fitness and medical measurement applications, especially galvanic skin response measurement.

The reference design is a wrist-worn unit, powered by a LIR2032 rechargeable coin battery. A mobile application program for devices for Android provides the interface, and has a free for download on the Maxim Integrated website. The watch communicates with a device for Android through a Bluetooth low-energy wireless interface.

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