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Medical or Industrial USB 2.0 Voltage Isolation in a Drop-In Package

If you’ve ever been in a hospital bed, or seen a loved one in a hospital bed, hooked up to a cluster of electronic sensors; the thought has to have crossed your mind, “A person could get a bad electrical shock from one of those.”  Analog Devices has introduced a low cost solution to help keep that from happening. 

A just introduced Analog Devices device, part number ADuM4160, provides USB isolation in a single package.  Many pieces of medical equipment now have a USB cable connection to a PC.  To protect the patient, the medical equipment and the PC, the equipment and the PC should be electrically isolated on that USB connection.  Until now, that required an expensive USB cable with a built-in isolation module or circuit designed in-house and built into the equipment, something typically outside the company’s core design expertise. 

The new Analog Devices part is a drop-in solution that provides 5kV rms isolation at less than half the cost of the previous solutions.  It is fully USB 2.0 compliant for 1.5Mbps low speed and 12Mbps full speed applications.  Because it provides isolation in both directions, it protects the monitor as well as the patient.  This is especially important for defibrillation.  The patient must be unhooked from all medical devices before defibrillation shocks can begin.  The Analog Devices part provides an additional safeguard in case a mistake is made. 

Part number ADuM4160 is actually a SiP (System in Package).  It has a layer of micro-isolation transformers with metal isolation barriers on each side, which is sandwiched between two transceiver ICs.  The beauty part is that the isolation transformers are manufactured using a semiconductor process technology, making the low cost possible.  A second benefit is that they are much the same size and thickness as an IC chip, so the isolation transformers and the two transceiver ICs fit in one small surface mount package.

This part is equally well suited for industrial applications where USB 2.0 isolation is required.  It is very easy to picture an industrial application where a monitor would need to be isolated from voltage spikes that might be picked up by as sensor or, vice versa, where and expensive sensor might need to be isolated from damage from a spike transmitted from the monitor. 

Semico Spin

Voltage isolation between medical equipment and a PC is an absolute safety requirement. This Analog Devices package provides that isolation for USB 2.0 connections in a small, easy to design-in package.  Using part number ADuM4160 is very likely to be cheaper and quicker to market than any alternative.  The same benefits apply in a wide range of industrial applications. 

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