Microchip Technology Inc. is a provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, and analog semiconductors that are designed to offer low-risk product development at lower total system costs and a faster time to market for thousands of diverse applications. Those in the electrical engineering world are very familiar with their PIC microcontrollers, digital signal controllers, and other microprocessors. However, in the medtech prototyping world, knowledge that Microchip has a special group dedicated to medical solutions may be less common.
Microchip cultivates an elite group of Medical Design Partner Specialists, which consists of engineering companies around the world that provide product development and design services to Microchip customers. Many of these design partners are FDA registered and certified in quality management standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 13485, common certifications that are required for delivery of medical devices to ensure that they are safe to use for their intended purpose, were properly manufactured, and that software and hardware designs for medical devices adhere to strict regulations.
Medgadget had a chance to catch up with some members of the Microchip Medical Products Group after the annual Microchip MASTERs conference, and had an opportunity to interview Marten Smith, the Business Development Manager of the Medical Products Group.
Alice Ferng, Medgadget: When was the Medical Products Group team assembled and why?
Marten Smith, Microchip Technology Inc.: The Medical Products Group was originally assembled back in 2006 to focus on the needs of medical clients. Microchip is well-known for their good support, and we really wanted to offer great customer support to medical customers making FDA Class 1, 2, and 3 devices, so we have been doing this for 11 years now. Part of achieving the goal of covering all the bases with customers is creating reference designs. These designs help people interested in making medical devices to get started and to get their designs to market much faster. The general idea for these reference designs is that the customers can download the schematics, the code and the application notes. We also loan out these demos to our sales force and to select distributors so that customers can utilize the demos for their initial prototype designs.
Medgadget: How were the specific reference design demos you currently have were chosen to be developed? Are there fields of medicine you are creating demos for or are planning to target? Can you also outline some of Microchip’s offerings related to these applications?
Mr. Smith: We target medical customers of all sizes and have been very successful in the medical device market. The biggest areas of demand and need are areas such as remote patient monitoring and drug delivery, which we feel play very well into our current demos. These demos show applications that measure vital signs, deliver medication or make the medical device an IoT device. This makes it possible to connect the medical device to a smartphone and eventually up to a cloud server.
Healthcare is currently trending, with a growing emphasis on home care and personalized medicine, as well as the transition of consumer fitness to medical markets. Security therefore is also a big issue. Microchip supplies security devices, offers advanced medical device level security and authentication solutions here as well. With the growing demand for devices that meet extreme low power requirements, Microchip offers eXtreme Low-Power (XLP) technology PIC® microcontrollers. Moreover, we offer innovative, safe, and user-friendly low-power touch and input sensing solutions such as products for touch, sliders, proximity, haptics, 3D tracking, and gesture control.
Medgadget: Can you give some examples of medical applications Microchip has worked on over the past decade?
Mr. Smith: A quick list includes implanted devices (e.g., cardioverter defibrillators, pacemakers, cardiac monitors, gastric bands, neural stimulators), home-use devices (e.g., activity monitors, blood glucose meters, oxygen concentrators, pregnancy testers, iontophoresis drug delivery, CPAP, cholesterol testers, digital thermometers), portable devices (e.g., electrocardiograph systems, ambulatory EKG recorders, sphygmomanometers, insulin pumps, muscle stimulators, hearing aids, ambulatory electromyographs), and other devices (e.g., oxygen sensors, automated cell counters, hospital inventory control interfaces, UV polymerization activators, hospital bed control, operating room tables, light-based surgical instrumentation, endoscopes, dialysis systems).
Medgadget: How competitive is Microchip with other semiconductor companies in the medical space?
Mr. Smith: Microchip is one of the few semiconductor suppliers that has continued to offer focused support for medical clients for more than ten years. We offer both commercial and technical support to medical clients. Additionally, we supply parts for FDA Class 3 and EU Class 3 & 4 medical devices. A lot of people don’t want to get involved with supplying semiconductor parts to these customers, so we want to continue supporting these customers since we have a long history of doing so already.
Related: The Microchip Medical Products Group well be at CES 2018 in Las Vegas next month. Their booth will be located at South Hall 2, #MP 26070. Since meetings are largely by appointment, if you are interested, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.
Here’s a video of an example device Microchip offers: