TechEn's Portable Optical Technology to Monitor Brain's Blood Flow Using SHARC®

Brain Function Demystified in Real Time
With over one billion nerve cells in the brain, medical researchers historically must collect and analyze massive amounts of data in order to solve some of the most serious medical problems plaguing millions today. In addition to those challenges, researchers and medical technicians have been constrained to conducting the measuring and monitoring in limited conditions and then looking at data afterwards. Now, with the help of Analog Devices' DSP technology and passionate research engineers, real time functional brain monitoring offers the promise of new solutions spanning the fields of stroke rehabilitation, sleep disorders, addiction and learning disabilities. Through innovative DSP processing, TechEn, a technology services and design firm, is advancing the study of brain activity and improving the quality of life. For over twenty years, TechEn has provided worldwide custom hardware and software design services for a broad range of embedded systems products, often requiring both analog and digital mixed signals. By combining full-services, they develop products fast, going from concept, to hardware, firmware, test and production.

ADI DSPs Provide the Power with the ADSP-21065L
The engineering challenges for brain monitoring require high speed data acquisition of analog brain signals at 30,000 samples per second and processing them for transmission over USB for computer captures and display. Bill Johnson, TechEn's founder and Chief of Technology, and his team were the first to use frequency modulation with 32 lasers and 32 detectors, generating over 1024 unique signals for brain monitoring. As a company with expertise in DSP, TechEn selected Analog Devices to achieve its goals. When asked what the key reasons for selecting the Analog Devices ADSP-21065L Johnson explained, "we have experience with a number of fixed and floating point processors, and we knew that the ADI family provided both the initial horsepower in the SHARC and the migration pathway for future functionality with the TigerSHARC." The combination of processing speed, tools, innovation and technical support from ADI are key elements of our decision. "Within a very short period of time, we have made huge strides in technological advancements in the brain research field. Thanks to the help and support of companies like ADI, who stay on the leading edge can understand our business and are dedicated to our product designs and platforms."

Award-Winning Technology using SHARC and TigerSHARC
In conjunction with Mass General Hospital and the National Institute of Health, TechEn has developed portable optical technology to monitor blood flow in the brain. For the first time in medical history, the patient can be conscious and comfortable during brain analysis and the data can be collected in "real time" while the patient performs various functions. Using near infrared optical lasers and detectors, this technology helps researchers "see" inside the brain and monitor brain activity, providing a pathway to understanding brain functions and disorders. This opens brain research to a new world of data analysis and has a vast potential to provide new solutions to age old problems. This has now allowed Dr. Boas at MGH and his colleagues to advance their research studies of the brain. The collaboration with MGH and ADI, has recently lead the TechEn team to a DARPA Award for wireless brain monitoring. Johnson sees the growing importance of real time medical applications, impacting new discoveries in the life science industry ranging from genome research to drug development.

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