Blood Glucose Monitors for Diabetes
Blood glucose monitors have been commonly used in Europe and the Americas for many years for the prevention and monitoring of diabetes. Due to changes in dietary habits this disease is now becoming more common throughout Asia, including Japan, leading to a growth in the demand for electronic glucose monitors. The requirement is to take measurements of blood sugar levels several times a day, so such products must be compact and have longer battery life to allow users to use them on the go. In addition, a side effect of diabetes is poor eyesight, so large LCD panels are usually required to display measurement results. An increasing requirement is to send information on the measured blood sugar levels to doctors in local hospitals, so a USB or Bluetooth interface provides the means to transfer the data to a recording PC.
In the measurement process, a very small current corresponding to the blood sugar level is output from a test strip. This is converted from current to voltage by an op-amp, and the resulting value is read by a high-precision A/D converter. Blood sugar level measurement requires an A/D converter with a resolution of 12 bits or more. Also, low power consumption is essential in order to achieve compactness and longer battery life.
The 78K0/LE3, LF3 and the H8/Super Low Power MCUs from Renesas Electronics have on-chip high-precision 14-bit A/D converters that are ideal for blood sugar level measurement. They also integrate the peripheral functions required for a blood glucose monitor, which helps to reduce overall cost and extend battery life.
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