IcyHeart EU project launch: Highly integrated ultra-low-power SoC solution for unobtrusive and energy-efficient wireless cardiac monitoring

New technology consortium set to change relationship between patients and doctors through innovative tele-health care solutions.
EU, researchers, and industry leaders seek to deliver unobtrusive wireless battery powered ECG monitoring solution for ambulatory use with the ability to analyze the ECG waveform and detect abnormal events in real time.
IcyHeart is a European project co-funded by the Research Executive Agency under Grant Agreement number 286130, comprising leading technology researchers and SME’s from across 5 European countries.
IcyHeart is a 21-month collaborative research and development project, coordinated by TALOS RTD in Cyprus that commenced in October 2011. Consortium partners include: CSEM (Switzerland) which is the Scientific Coordinator, EPFL (Switzerland), SignalGeneriX Ltd (Cyprus), Docobo Ltd (UK), PRISMA (Greece), Dolphin Integration (France).

The project

The objective of IcyHeart is to investigate and demonstrate a highly integrated and power-efficient microelectronic solution for remote monitoring of a person’s electrocardiogram (ECG) signals. A complete System-on-a-Chip (SoC) will be developed that will include on board the chip an ultra low-power signal acquisition front-end with analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) for ECG, a low-power digital signal processor (DSP), and a low-energy radio frequency (RF) transceiver. Energy efficient signal processing algorithms targeting ECG and similar signals will be embedded and run on the on-chip DSP. The proposed research will enable major technological breakthroughs in the areas of highly integrated “sensing-converting-processing-transmitting” solutions in a single chip. The IcyHeart technology will generate high market value for the European SMEs developing novel cardio-monitoring products in home and professional environments, and create high societal impact for several categories of European citizens requiring miniature, comfortable and easy-to-use wireless tele-healthcare solutions.

Partner Quotes

“As a pioneer in the field of ultra low power microelectronics since the development of the first crystal oscillator based wristwatch in the sixties, CSEM is proud to be the initiator of the IcyHeart project and to act as Technical Manager for the project”, says Pierre-François Rüedi, head of the SoC and Mixed Signal Design group at CSEM. “We are pleased to bring our competences in RF, analog and digital design to enable a highly integrated System-on-Chip which will offer new opportunities in term of system miniaturization and power reduction, thus facilitating the realization of battery powered portable devices” he added.

“ultra low power analog front-end and data converter enables hand-held and wearable electronics to become ever more unobtrusive and will foster further high-resolution sensor applications” states Christophe Gaillard, Mixed signal IC Development Manager at Dolphin Integration, “the IcyHeart project outcome will contribute to extend our data converter IP portfolio with ultra low power solutions”, he added.

“On-line processing of electro cardiac waves, performed on ‘smart’ sensor nodes, minimizes energy-hungry radio communication, which in turn improves drastically the lifetime of systems.” says prof. David Atienza, head of the Embedded Systems Laboratory at EPFL. “The expertise gathered by ESL-EPFL in removing noise, deriving from body activity, and low-computation methods for extracting ECG waves characteristics will be of paramount importance in devising a compact, battery-powered acquisition device, capable of monitoring patients over an extended period of time. The technology transfer will benefit partner European SMEs and the public at large; it will also be an opportunity to validate our real-time ECG delineation and filtering technologies in industrial setups.”
“Designing a highly integrated and power-efficient microelectronic solution for remote monitoring of a person’s electrocardiogram signals is certainly a real challenge”, says Dr. Anastasis Kounoudes, CEO at SignalGeneriX. “We are happy that we are able to provide our expertise and technology in DSP for the development of ultra-low-power on-board data acquisition and processing of ECG signals”
“ECG and similar signals embedded and run on an on-chip DSP, deployed in the range of Docobo telehealth products alongside symptomatic and our other monitoring techniques, will enable a transformational change from historic intervention based care to predictive management of health and wellbeing” said Peter Levene, Business and Clinical Development Director. “Avoidance of inappropriate hospital admissions, reduction in disease exacerbation and enhancement of individual quality of life across disease groups will release precious resources to meet increased demand in care provision in an ageing population”.
TALOS is the Coordinator of IcyHeart project being responsible for the overall financial, legal and administrative management of the project. It also plays an active role in the coordination of dissemination and exploitation activities assisting the end-user partners for the best possible exploitation of the project results.

Further information is available at www.icyheart-project.eu

Contact details

Coordinator: TALOS

Technical Manager: CSEM

Dissemination Manager: Dolphin Integration