Analog/mixed-signal IC vendors are responding to the problem, as an integrated yet flexible and versatile development platform can ease the task, while also highlighting an array of their high-performance ICs at the same time. The hSensor Platform Maxim Integrated (formally called the MAXREFDES100# reference design) is a recent and powerful example: it includes its hSensor board, complete firmware with drivers, a debugger board and a graphical user interface (GUI). The hardware includes a broad range of sensors and interfaces:
- MAX30003: Ultra-low power, single-channel integrated biopotential AFE
- MAX30101: High-sensitivity pulse oximeter (SpO2) and heart-rate sensor
- MAX30205: Industry’s only clinical-grade temperature sensor
- MAX32620: Ultra-low power ARM® Cortex®-M4F microcontroller optimized for wearables
- MAX14720: Industry’s lowest quiescent-current power-management integrated circuit (PMIC)
- Additional components: Inertial sensors (three-axis accelerometer, six-axis accelerometer/gyroscope), barometric pressure sensor, flash memory and BLE radio
However a set of just the sensors and their signal conditioning is necessary but not sufficient to fully relieve the designer's product-development pressures. Recognizing this, users of the Maxim hSensor platform have access to firmware source codes on Maxim’s website which, when combined with the platform, allows designers to load algorithms for different scenarios and adapt them to their specific applications. The firmware helps quickly test, validate and optimize designs, enabling faster evaluations and thus significantly reducing time to market.
The platform also includes support for the widely used ARM® mbed™ Internet of Things (IoT) Device Platform for writing software that controls hardware which can then connect to the cloud, simplifying creation of embedded, connected products. The mbed environment offers a high level of abstraction to eliminate maintenance of software tools and provide an extensive library of open-source software, supporting efficient evaluation and rapid prototyping of the application.
The hSensor Platform/MAXREFDES100# reference design is just 25.4 × 30.5mm (1 × 1.2 inch); runs on a standard CR2032 coin cell; and allows data to be monitored over a Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) link, stored in flash, or streamed via USB. It is available for $150; the hardware and firmware files are provided free online. More information is available at http://bit.ly/Maxim_hSensor_Platform.