Monday, February 22, 2010

Ramblings From Radiology

As I have mentioned to many of you, I had an excess of protein in my urine and have had to have a number of medical tests. Today I am at Huntsville Hospital and just got back from a kidney biopsy. I have to get another scan in a few hours to ensure I am not bleeding internally. What does this have to do with RTEMS you ask? Well, nothing directly. But being bored and surrounded by medical devices made me remember some of the RTEMS based medical devices people have told me about over the years.

The first device I heard of was an HP (now Philips) Criticare heart monitor. Philips/HP Criticare equipment is common in our area but I don't know if I have actually ever seen one of these.

I assisted in the development of a BSP for what was going to be a blood analyser for Roche. I recall it be m683xx-based but do not know exactly it tested for.

The AMV Technic I is a certified syringe pump for sale in a number of European countries. It uses RTEMS on an ARM CPU and we have information in the RTEMS Wiki. It uses Microwindows to provide the graphical user interface.Link

There are also RTEMS based intercom systems which are used by patients to summon or talk to a floor nurse. This product is ARM based and is on its second generation of hardware using RTEMS. Seeing a user build multiple product generations on RTEMS is personally very satisfying. It makes me know they are pleased with RTEMS.

There may well be other medical devices out there, but I don't know about them. Unfortunately, many people do not tell us about their application. I don't know how to change this but will continue to beg for marketing literature from RTEMS based products. Please save me from begging! Just send me the information.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory Launched

The NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) was successfully launched this morning. The SDO satellite includes 5 Radiation Hardened Coldfire CPUs running RTEMS. The Coldfire/RTEMS computers run many of the I/O functions and one of the instruments. A very nice graphic of the mission is here. The following is the description of the project from the SDO Project Site:
SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.

SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining

  • how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured
  • how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
Congratulations to the folks at NASA Goddard on a successful launch and good luck in meeting their science goals. I look forward to the new insights we will gain into the Sun.