Medical Device Platforms: Times They Are a Changin

Executive Summary

What do a BMW, a fridge and a portable ultrasound have in common? Ten years ago the answer would have been “nothing”, but the answer now is “low-power GPμs” spawned from the world of mobile phones. Ten years ago the answer would have been “nothing”, but the answer now is “lowpower processors” spawned from the world of smartphones. BMW autos use the Intel Atom, smart fridges turned to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 802, and portable ultrasounds are powered by digital signal processors from TI. Mobile processors and their O.S. counter parts are now stepping onto the medical devices field. In a survey [1] of medical device designers conducted by IT Brand Pulse, two questions dealt with what designers expect their medical device product lines to look like today and in the future.
According to the respondents, 13% of medical devices use a mobile GPμ today, while that number is projected to rise 2.5 times in 36 months to over 30%. When asked about the use of mobile O.S.s, the results were even more dramatic. Today only 10.9% of medical devices use a mobile O.S. In 36 months that number is expected to triple to 30%. Bob Dylan was right the times they are a changin’, but luckily we know which way the winds are blowin’.
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