CenTrak Uses Ultra-Low Power MSP430 MCUs from Texas Instruments to Streamline Patient and Equipment Tracking in Medical Facilities
New InTouch Care™ Battery-Powered Real Time Location System Increases Efficiencies, Saves Costs, Helps Improve Patient Care
DALLAS (November 8, 2007) – Combining ultra-low-power control with innovative remote communications, CenTrak, Inc. (formally Remote Play) has announced the introduction of its InTouch Care™ Real Time Location System (RTLS), an advanced, easily installed system for tracking medical personnel, patients and equipment that is based on MSP430 microcontroller units (MCUs) from Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE:TXN). The new InTouch Care RTLS employs DualTrak™ technology, a unique combination of radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) that generates more accurate locations of people and equipment to room and sub-room levels, saving time and costs for hospitals while helping to improve patient care. Thanks to the extremely low power consumption of TIs MSP430 MCUs, InTouch Cares DualTrak infrastructure operates on batteries that last for several years, making the system easy to deploy and scale, as well as inexpensive to maintain.
“CenTrak is at the forefront of innovative efforts to develop technology that improves medical efficiencies while creating a better environment and experience for patients,” said Cornelia Huellstrunk, worldwide product marketing manager for MSP430, Texas Instruments. “By leveraging TIs MSP430 performance and power savings offerings, InTouch Care helps lower the burden of RTLS installation while providing highly accurate tracking, saving costs for facilities and helping to improve medical care.”
Accuracy and Ease of Use
InTouch Care networks consist of small tags placed on personnel, patients or equipment, room monitors that are scaled like smoke detectors, and access points that are centrally located on a floor and communicate to a computer network. The tags, which offer several options for deployment, come with buttons and LEDs that can be customized for different functions, such as indicating that a patient is ready for a procedure. Non-line-of-sight Gen2IR™ infrared provides unambiguous room-level positioning, and two-way radio frequency (RF) communication enables all units to share location data and system maintenance information as needed.
This unique signaling combination provides faster, more accurate location of tags. Equally important is the InTouch Care installation process, which allows for quick system piloting and ease of deployment in any hospital. Aside from the Ethernet-connected central access points, InTouch Care units operate from batteries that last, under normal operating conditions, up to five years in tags and four years in monitors. Since the units can be installed quickly and without disruptive and costly power line or Ethernet wiring, the deployment process that traditionally required four months of site surveys, preparation and installation, has now been reduced by CenTrak to a few weeks.
"The tremendous opportunity for InTouch Care RTLS lies in the solution it offers our customers—simple installation and increased accuracy,” said Dr. Ari Naim, CEO of Centrak. “InTouch Cares DualTrak breakthrough technology not only creates a widely affordable infrastructure, but more importantly provides the room-level and sub-room-level accuracy that enables valuable and exciting applications. Because InTouch Care is scalable to millions of square feet and is able to track tens of thousands of tags, we expect a wave of small and large companies will build upon our infrastructure to create new solutions for challenges that were previously impossible to solve.”
An Integrated, Low-Power MCU Solution
All of CenTraks InTouch Care units are based on TIs MSP430F20xx MCUs, which extend battery life by approximately 25 percent while providing up to 16 MIPS (million instructions per second) for communication, identification and system control. An ultra-low power mode minimizes power consumption during standby cycles, and a fast wake-up ensures rapid response for active use. Integrated peripherals, including analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), timers and comparators, reduce system cost and assist in keeping tag and monitor circuits as small as their coin-sized batteries. The MCUs on-chip flash memory helps simplify development and enables reprogramming – an essential feature with InTouch Cares addressing requirements – while TIs comprehensive tools and support have helped CenTrak develop its products easily and bring them to market quickly.
TI Enables Innovation with Broad Range of Controllers
From ultra-low-power MCUs from its MSP430 platform and 32-bit general purpose ARM7-based MCUs from the TMS470 platform, to high performance TMS320C2000™ DSP platform of digital signal controllers, TI offers designers the broadest range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TIs complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support. For more information on the broad range of TIs controllers, see www.ti.com/mcu.
CenTrak is a leading provider of precise, adaptable and cost-effective tracking solutions for healthcare, commercial, and industrial facilities. The company develops and markets Active-RFID network products used for tracking people and assets in real time, enabling greater workflow efficiency, asset utilization and higher overall security. The patented InTouch Care Real Time Location System offers breakthrough performance and cost advantages that had been previously unattainable. It is the first predominantly battery-powered Active RFID network system in the world and it is currently operating in several world-class healthcare sites in the US.
About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Education Technology business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.
Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.