Center for Design of Analog-Digital Integrated Circuits (CDADIC) Proposal #1127853

This proposal seeks funding for the Center for Design of Analog-Digital Integrated Circuits (CDADIC) at Washington State University (lead) for work executed at its Oregon State University site. Funding Requests for Fundamental Research are authorized by an NSF approved solicitation, NSF 10-601. The solicitation invites I/UCRCs to submit proposals for support of industry-defined fundamental research.

Development of wearable electronics to effectively monitor human activity and physiological signals is emerging as an important area for integrated circuit and system design. Wearable electronics pose distinct challenges to the designer unlike those of traditional electronics environments including light weight, low power, and mixed-signal design often requiring electrical and/or chemical contact with the human subject?s skin and unteathered wireless connection to remote monitoring infrastructure. The proposed research effort will design and demonstrate a wearable sensor for elderly subjects capable of monitoring daily activity patterns and vital signs. The research aims to improve the energy efficiency of specialized analog-digital conversion, wireless transmitters, and digital computing for wearable computing as well as explore data mining approaches for the extraction of diagnostically relevant signatures.

With the aging of the US population, the proposed work has the potential for wide impact in the care of the elderly and their ability to stay longer in their own home environment, thus increasing their positive outcomes and reducing their cost of care. The proposed project has strong support from Analog Devices and Intel, both members of the Center. More broadly, the work has the potential to expand the research portfolio of the center as a whole into the area of wearable electronics, thus impacting the center?s entire industry sector. The PIs have also founded a company to help commercialize work in this area. The proposal lays out concrete plans for involving undergraduates in the work via senior projects.

Project Report

The long-term goal of this proposal is to explore the use of low-cost wearable wireless body sensors for the clinical validation of drug effectiveness. The immediate goal is to build a single-chip, vital-sign band-aid sensor system, which will continuously monitor wirelessly a vari­ety of human body signals, such as movement (localization), brain (EEG), heart (EKG), muscle (EMG), breathing (respiration), and core body temperature. Critical to this design is both low-power and high-density integration of analog/mixed-signal circuits on a single chip, as both the battery and the sensor are required to be small in order to improve patient acceptance. Cost, size, and battery life mandate that the entire SoC sensor dissipate at most 100 uW, in order to obtain continuous sensor readings for one week while the patient is wearing the sensors. In the span of this funded work, we developed multiple microchips operating at state-of-the-art energy-efficiency: Some examples include: Low-power wireless radios [1]; batteryless RF energy harvesting [2]; low-VDD computing [3]; micropowered analog-to-digital conversion [4]. [1] J. Cheng, N. Qi, P. Y. Chiang, A. Natarajan, "A 1.3mW 0.6V WBAN-Compatible Sub-Sampling PSK Receiver in 65nm CMOS", International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Feb. 2014. [2] L. Xia, J. Cheng, N. Glover, P. Chiang, "0.56 V, -20 dBm RF-Powered, Multi-Node Wireless Body Area Network System-on-a-Chip with Harvesting-Efficiency Tracking Loop", IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Feb. 2014. [3] Robert Pawlowski, Evgeni Krimer, Joseph Crop, Jacob Postman, Nariman Moezzi-Madani, Mattan Erez, Patrick Chiang, "A 530mV 10-Lane SIMD Processor With Variation Resiliency in 45nm SOI", Feb., International Solid-State Circuits Conference, 2012. [4] C.H. Chen, Y. Zhang, T. He, P.Y. Chiang, and G.C. Temes, "A 11µW 250 Hz BW Two-Step Incremental ADC with 100 dB DR and 91 dB SNDR for Integrated Sensor Interfaces", IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference, 2014. Healthcare research will undergo a transformational change with the prospect of a grand activity observatory that can capture continued multi-person, real-time location information. In addi­tion to enabling seniors to remain independent in their homes, the core of the proposed technologies exhibits much broader applicability towards detecting other types of behaviors. For example, the precise movement patterns of a patient (or a body part such as hand), is predictive of patients’ neu­rodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The system will make an immediate impact through a clinical translation to vitamin-taking monitoring. This interdisciplinary research requires novel analog circuit, energy-efficient computing, wireless, and system design to build this integrated, miniature, low-power sensor. Furthermore, translating this research into clinical relevance is an important component that provides broader impact, involv­ing biochemistry and engineering.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Lawrence A. Hornak
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Washington State University
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