As wearable Health Tech moves forward, the need grows for advanced digital infrastructure to support new devices, new technologies, and new applications. Every new company cannot expect to re-invent all the pieces. Imec and Hoist Centre, a Netherlands-based joint research and development group, just announced a new system-on-chip (SOC) biomedical sensor hub it claims is the world’s most energy efficient, versatile, and powerful.

We’ve written about Imec/Hoist Centre developments before, including a t-shirt that measures ECG  in mid 2015 and a multi-sensor development kit in late 2014. The new sensor hub builds on this prior work but goes far beyond the capabilities of the kit we wrote about earlier. According to Imec, the new sensor hub combines more biomedical analog interfaces on one chip than ever before. Those interfaces include three ECG channels, photo-plethysmography (PPG), galvanic skin response (GSR), two multi-frequency bio-impedance (BIO-Z) channels, and three reconfigurable channels. The BIO-Z channels can support newer applications such as impedance-tomography, body fluid analysis, and stroke volume measurement. The same SOC includes digital signal processing, high fidelity operation, and multiple day monitoring. Everything is powered by one battery. The Imec/Hoist Centre announce stresses the focus on user comfort as a result of the small form factor of the new sensor hub.

“There is a clear need for accurate and reliable bio-sensing in wearables, and we are working on the building blocks to enable this,” said Imec’s program director wearable health Chris Van Hoof. “Our new SoC sensor hub underscores patient-centric capabilities and can be integrated into numerous wearable fitness and healthcare applications such as patch monitors, chest band heart rate monitors, respiration or hydration monitors and devices for blood pressure calculation.”

The potential for more powerful, versatile, and comfortable wearable health tech is exciting with equally powerful, versatile, and energy-efficient core components.