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Wired/Wireless Medical Device Connectivity

The medical/healthcare industry is constantly evolving, so medical device manufacturers must keep pace with industry trends if they want to stay competitive in the market. A common requirement is to add network connectivity to previously isolated serial devices. For device manufacturers, finding a way to network-enable existing products—without starting from scratch—is invaluable.

A manufacturer of physiological monitoring products wanted to add wired and wireless network connectivity to its legacy line of RS-232 pulse oximeters. This would enable medical staff to easily access data from the devices over the Ethernet network. With competitors already offering this functionality, the manufacturer needed to bring the updated solution to the market quickly and have samples on display at an upcoming industry trade show. The urgent nature of this project dictated two key requirements:

  • Single development effort for adding both wired and wireless networking
  • No major changes to existing software and hardware

Digi’s family of embedded modules allowed the manufacturer to easily add embedded web-enabled network connectivity to pulse oximeters, with only one hardware design change. The Digi Connect ME and Digi Connect Wi-ME are wired and wireless interchangeable solutions, so migrating from one technology to the other does not require a second hardware development effort. At a fraction of the time and cost required to create custom solutions, the manufacturer is able to add secure wired 10/100Base-T and 802.11b wireless Ethernet connectivity to the existing product design.

With Digi’s patented RealPort® COM redirector technology, the manufacturer continues to use the certified, time-tested pulse oximeter software. RealPort enables the software to send and receive data over the Ethernet to the device via a “virtual” serial port. This seamless solution eliminates the need to spend valuable time and money on software modifications.

The Digi Connect ME and Digi Connect Wi-ME provided an efficient, cost-effective means of network-enabling legacy serial devices. The medical device manufacturer was able to revitalize a stagnant product line, without spending extensive time in hardware and software development.

Problem:
Quickly adding wired and wireless embedded network connectivity to legacy medical devices

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