Design of Inductive Coupling for Powering andCommunication of Implantable Medical Devices

University essay from KTH/Skolan för informations- och kommunikationsteknik (ICT)

Author: Andreas Svensson; [2012]

Keywords: ;


Technological advances over the years have made it possible to reduce the size and power consumption of electronics. This has led to significant advances for biomedical sensors. It is now possible to reduce the size enough to create implantable sensors. This type of sensors can for instance be used to measure the glucose level of diabetes patients. An implantable sensor can significantly simplify the measurement procedure. Taking a measurement can be as simple as turning on a device, capable of receiving the data sent by the sensor.

Unfortunately, the lifetime of this type of sensors can be limited by the battery of the implanted sensor. To improve the lifetime, the battery has to be replaced. Instead of a battery, energy harvesting can be used. One promising such method is to transfer power from outside the body to the implanted sensor. This thesis focuses on one such way, inductive coupling. Inductive coupling, can be used both to transfer power from an external device to the sensor, and to transfer data from the sensor to the external device.

In this thesis a system for wireless power transfer has been proposed. The system is based on state of the art circuits for inductive powering and communication, for implantable devices. The system is adapted for powering an implantable biomedical sensor including a PIC16LF1823 microcontroller. The system includes asynchronous serial communication, from the microcontroller in the implantable device to the external reader device using load shift keying.

The external device of the system, has been implemented in two different versions, one using a printed circuit board (PCB), and one simplified version using a breadboard. The implantable device has been implemented in three different versions, one on a PCB, one simplified version using a breadboard and finally one application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). All three implementations of the implantable devices use a resistor to simulate the power consumption of an actual biomedical sensor. The ASIC implementation contains only the parts needed for receiving power and transmitting data. The ASIC was designed using a 150nm CMOS process.

The PCB implementations of both devices have been used to measure the system performance. The maximum total power consumption was found to be 107 mW, using a 5 V supply voltage. The maximum distance for powering the implantable device was found to be 4.5 cm in air. The sensor, including the microcontroller, is provided with 648 μW of power at the maximum distance. A raw data rate of 19200 bit/s has been used successfully to transfer data. Additionally, oscilloscope measurements indicates that a data rate close to 62500 bit/s could be possible.

Simulations of the proposed ASIC show that the minimum total voltage drop from the received AC voltage to the regulated output voltage is 430 mV. This is much smaller than for the PCB implementation. The reduced voltage drop will reduce the power dissipation of the implantable device and increase the maximum possible distance between the external device and the implanted devices. The ASIC can provide 648 μW of power at a coupling coefficient k=0.0032.

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