Vena, the first fully Continua compliant wireless health device, demonstrated at Consumer Electronics Show

Cambridge 05 January 2009With growing numbers of people categorised as overweight or obese, and with an ageing but increasingly wealthy population, demand is growing in western countries for consumer products which will help people to manage their health. Cambridge Consultants' Vena technology platform is the first and only device to demonstrate full interoperability to the Continua Health Alliance Standard. The company's experience of developing low cost, high performance single-chip wireless solutions, combined with its access to the Bluetooth stack, have resulted in a unique platform that leads the way for wireless health device development.

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The Vena platform, demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, will enable Cambridge Consultants to quickly and easily develop wireless personal health care products for clients in the wide range of sectors for whom these trends present exciting business opportunities. These include wireless device and appliance companies, but also on-line service providers, telecommunications networks, broadband portal providers and gaming companies. The products enabled by Vena range from health care devices that wirelessly monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, heart-rate or blood-oxygen levels, to fitness enhancing products and gaming platforms that can monitor performance as part of a personal training or competitive on-line system.

"Vena is a low cost single-chip communications solution for wireless health devices, with the capability to deliver both wired (USB) and wireless (Bluetooth) connectivity", explained Paul Williamson, Head of Wireless Medical at Cambridge Consultants. "The demonstration at CES shows how Vena's full implementation of the Bluetooth HDP stack and enhanced capability enables it to share data seamlessly with a range of Continua compliant services from companies like Philips and Google Health. Vena's proven interoperability means that product and service companies wishing to gain a foothold in this exciting new market can have access to customisable solutions at an extremely low cost, on a single chip, without the need for a host processor, supported by mature rapid development tools."

The key to Vena's success is the fact that it includes the three standards required for the Version One Device Connectivity Standards selected by the Continua Health Alliance. It embeds the Bluetooth HDP and the USB Personal Health Device standard, optimised for the secure transport of medical data, onto a single chip at an affordable price. Vena also offers the IEEE11073 standards for compatible exchange of information between health devices including thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, weighing scales and blood glucose meters. It is also ready to transport data for the Continua Alliance's Version Two Standards which, when released, will include gym-based applications for fitness equipment, personal activity monitors, accelerometers, medication monitors and devices for independent living.

"Close to a quarter of the world's population are overweight, more than 600 million have some form of chronic disease, and millions more are reaching retirement age", stated Dave Whitlinger, Continua Health Alliance President. "So the time for greater personal health management is now. The work of Continua member companies like Cambridge Consultants is invaluable to our aim of empowering consumers to manage their own health and fitness through connected products and solutions. The fact that Paul and his colleagues have passed these first milestones with Vena brings these aims one step closer to reality, and we are delighted that they are demonstrating the device's capabilities at CES."

Vena now has a proven capability as a platform for use in rapidly developing Continua Certified devices or retrofitting compliant wireless capability to existing products. Cambridge Consultants is making it available as a reference design at a fixed price for clients to use as the basis for their own wireless health care device development, supported by design and development services as required.

The Continua Health Alliance is a non-profit, open industry coalition of the finest health care and technology companies joining together in collaboration to improve the quality of personal health care. With more than 170 member companies around the world, Continua is dedicated to establishing a system of interoperable personal health solutions with the knowledge that extending those solutions into the home fosters independence, empowers individuals and provides the opportunity for truly personalized health and wellness management.

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For nearly 50 years, the company has enabled its clients to turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies.

With a team of over 270 engineers, designers, scientists and consultants, in offices in Cambridge, United Kingdom and Boston, USA, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, automotive, transport, energy and wireless communications.


Source: Cambridge Consultants

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