“Wearable Tech” is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about Medical Devices. Besides, who develops this stuff anyway? Probably a huge team of scientists and engineers, wearing lab coats in a clean room, all working for a global conglomerate. Guess again!
A “Wearable Medical Device” can be considered as anything a patient uses or wears to assist with assessing, monitoring or improving their health. This includes daily items like FitBits, through to more specialised items like wireless pulse oximeters or insulin pumps. Development of this kind of tech used to be confined to big budget R&D labs, but recent advances in rapid-prototyping technology and microelectronics has significantly lowered the cost barriers for smaller developers like Neuroworks Labs.
The surge in wearable tech development has improved the accessibility to high-quality software tools at affordable prices. When I started my career, the CAD tools required to tackle a complex circuit board like those in today’s medical device, requiring specialist training and costing more than what most of us made in a year. Then you needed another package that was almost as expensive for the mechanical CAD! Now, reasonably priced, quality circuit board and mechanical CAD packages are available.
I use SolidWorks because it integrates with Altium Designer nicely, allowing me to develop the mechanical and electronic designs interdependently. Altium Designer can import 3D models for all of the physical components, and then export a full 3D model of the populated circuit board. Being able to immediately see the impact of a mechanical or electronic design change on the Medical Device massively reduces the design iteration loop time from days (or even weeks) to hours (or minutes).