Increasing numbers of patients, shrinking numbers of embedded computer physicians, and rising costs are pushing the medical field further into the age of telehealth. Unlike traditional clinical platforms, however, telemedicine demands portability, flexibility, and long lifecycle support from Small Form Factor (SFF) technologies. Targeted at low-power mobile applications, Revision 2.0 of the Qseven Computer-On-Module (COM) specification added support for ARM CPUs and defined embedded computer, making it good Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) medicine for next-generation telehealth systems.
“Scalability is a key factor, especially for lower volumes, and the Qseven standard offers the possibility to use the same baseboard with different processors depending on the user’s needs,” Budelmann says. “Some users only need a small control unit and prefer a simple ARM processor, whereas other customers want to implement large screens and need the graphical power of an x86 system. Of course, this embedded computer can also be the case in medical applications. Even if the baseboard has to be adapted to very special demands, this is less complex than switching from a pure ARM platform to an x86 platform or vice versa. In the majority of cases, only some drivers, such as Ethernet PHY, have to be exchanged whereas the real application software can remain the same.”