Posts

Small Sensors Make Big In-Home Healthcare Impact

In-home healthcare is booming, resulting in innovative medical devices that transform how we manage health outside the hospital. Driven by advancements in wearable tech, remote monitoring, and portable medical devices, a seismic shift empowers individuals to manage chronic conditions, recover from surgery, or maintain independence with greater ease and comfort.

Ensuring the safety and effectiveness of in-home healthcare equipment and devices is crucial, and that’s where miniaturized force measurement sensors play a role. In-home healthcare innovators and product makers use miniature load cells to demonstrate greater impact in improving home-based medical devices’ accuracy and relability.

Interface has a long history of providing the medical and healthcare industry with force measurement products for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and in-home healthcare applications.

Interface Mini Load Cells are used for in-home healthcare device testing and integrated measurement solutions. The types of products include our popular models: Compression Load Button Load CellSSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load CellMB Miniature Beam Load CellWMC Sealed High Capacity Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell, SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell, and our new SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cell.

Why Are Interface Mini Load Cells Used for In-home Healthcare Devices?

#1 Size: Dimensions matter for these types of applications. Interface offers compact and versatile measurement devices that integrate seamlessly into existing and new medical devices, from monitors to therapy equipment.

#2 Capacity: The range of solutions needs to fit dimensionally, as well as by the capacity of the measurement. Whether it is minuscule Newton meters or several pounds of force, it is important to use a miniature load cell that fits the exact measurement requirements.

#3 Precision: High accuracy is paramount when developing and monitoring in-home healthcare devices. The sensors must deliver precise measurements critical for device efficacy and patient safety.

#4 Endurance: The durability and reliability are also at the core of devices used outside a medical facility. They must be built to withstand the demands of home use, ensuring long-lasting performance.

#5 Integration:  Many medical device manufacturers use Interface solutions as part of the overall equipment, embedding our sensors in the device to provide real-time feedback and monitoring.

#6 Research and Development: Any approved medical device takes years to complete the final product, including the regulation and compliance. Interface Mini Load Cells are used by design houses and testing labs throughout the prototyping phases.

Examples of Load Cells Technologies Making a Big Impact

  • Smart Scales: Track weight changes, monitor medication adherence, and detect early signs of health issues.
  • Rehabilitation Equipment: Measure force and progress during physical therapy exercises, providing personalized feedback and improving outcomes. See: Treadmill Rehabilitation
  • Transfer Lifts: Ensure safe and comfortable patient transfers by accurately measuring weight and balance. See: Patient Hoyer Lift
  • Infusion Pumps: Precisely control medication delivery for chronic conditions, improving patient safety and treatment effectiveness. See:
  • Bed Weighing: Monitor weight fluctuations for accurate diagnoses and treatment plans, even at home. See: Hospital Bed Weighing App Note
  • Assistive devices for people with disabilities: The design must be tested with precision measurements to ensure they enhance functionality and independence.

The demand is high due to in-home medical devices. What was once viewed as for use in hospital settings is now in homes around the globe.  By enabling patients to manage their health at home, these devices can improve outcomes through increased compliance, early intervention, and personalized care. Home healthcare can be significantly cheaper than hospital care, benefiting patients and healthcare systems.

Our team of measurement application engineers provides standard, custom, and OEM sensor solutions for in-home medical devices. Our experts assist you in finding the right load cell for your specific needs.

We have proven experience providing sensors for seamless integration into existing equipment or new medical device designs to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Together, we can help leverage the power of miniature load cells to create a future of personalized, effective, and accessible in-home healthcare.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

New Technical White Paper Analyzes SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cells

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Measuring the Potential of IoT Wearables Using Load Cell Technology

Weighing

Accuracy Matters for Weighing and Scales

 

Electrical Engineers Choose Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface is a premier provider of force, torque and weighing solutions to electrical engineers around the world who are responsible for creating new products, solving problems, and improving systems.

Electrical engineers vary in specialization and industry experience with responsibilities for designing and testing electrical systems and components such as power generators, electric motors, lighting systems, and production robots. They use their expertise and knowledge of electrical systems and components to design, develop, assess, and maintain safe and reliable electrical systems. There are many electrical engineers who work on complex systems and who are responsible for troubleshooting and diagnosing problems that may arise.

The electrical engineers whose primary focus is research and development look to create new electrical technologies and advance existing systems. Projects related to renewable energy, smart grids, wireless communication systems, and electric vehicles utilize all types of measurement solutions throughout all phases of their R&D. Accuracy of testing is essential for electrical engineers, to ensure components comply with safety regulations and industry standards.

How does an electrical engineer use sensor technology for testing?

Sensors are a critical tool for electrical engineers in testing and optimizing the performance of electronic devices, systems, and processes. The type of sensor used, and the specific testing application will depend on the needs of the project or product, including the following examples.

  • Structural testing: Sensors are used to measure the structural integrity of materials and components. Load cells convert force or weight into an electrical signal that can be measured and analyzed. For example, Interface’s standard load cells are frequently used to measure the amount of strain or deformation in a material under load, which can help electrical engineers design stronger and more reliable structures. See how Interface’s products were used in an EV battery structural testing project.
  • Process control: Sensor technologies, including load cells and torque transducers are frequently utilized in manufacturing processes to monitor and control various parameters. Electrical use this data gathered through various instrumentation devices to ensure that the manufacturing process is operating within the desired parameters and to optimize the process for efficiency and quality.
  • Environmental testing: Environmental sensors are commonplace for measuring temperature, humidity, pressure, and other environmental factors. Electrical engineers can use this data to test and optimize the performance of electronic devices and systems under various environmental conditions. Read Hazardous Environment Solutions from Interface to learn more.

Electrical engineers use load cells in a variety of applications, such as measuring the weight of objects, monitoring the force applied to a structure, or controlling the tension in a cable or wire. The choice of load cell will depend on the specific application and the requirements for accuracy, sensitivity, and capacity. Electrical engineers must also consider factors such as environmental conditions, installation requirements, and cost when selecting a load cell.

Electrical engineers work in a wide range of industries and sectors, as their expertise is required in many different areas of technology and engineering. Interface has supplied quality testing devices and components to EEs in every sector, from electronics to construction.

Electrical engineers in the electronics industry use Interface products in designing and developing components such as microchips, sensors, and circuits. Demands for intrinsically safe load cells and instrumentation come from electrical engineers that are responsible for designing, maintaining, and improving power generation and distribution systems, including renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and hydropower.

More than any time in Interface’s 55-year history, electrical engineers who work on a variety of aerospace and defense projects, are using Interface sensor products for designing and testing avionics systems, communication systems, and navigation systems.

We also continue provide electrical engineers who engage in designing and developing the electrical and electronic systems in vehicles, including everything from powertrains and engine management systems to infotainment systems and driver assistance technologies with new and innovative force measurement solutions.

Manufacturing electrical engineers who engage in designing and optimizing manufacturing processes, as well as designing and evaluating the electronic components and systems used in manufacturing equipment are frequently using Interface sensors. This includes the rising demands for sensors in robotics.

Electrical engineers across many different industries depend on Interface, just as all the companies and organizations around the world depend on their expertise. Interface is a proud partner of engineers across all disciplines.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Celebrates Engineers

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Interface Solutions for Research and Development

Among the many roles of force measurement in engineering and manufacturing, the role of force sensing in research and development may be the most exciting and important. Load cells and other types of force sensors qualify and collect data on exploratory projects across a wide variety of industries. These tests determine the viability of a potential project and eventually new innovations.

Research and development are core to most businesses to stay competitive. R&D is essential in creating new products and anticipating customer demands. Whether it is assessing the viability of a new IoT home technology for consumers or designing a component used in a new surgical medical device, research is core to the technical and technological development of most any product.

In an R&D environment, force testing helps to compare product materials, determine the strength materials and components, and evaluate environmental, ergonomic, and other features. Additionally, force testing is common across industries as a quality control measure to accurately check that a given group of products meet targeted design specifications, per performance, safety, and regulatory requirements.

Interface often works with engineers whose role it is perform research and development within their organization. R&D engineers use research theories, principles, and models to perform a variety of experiments and activities. Not only do R&D engineers create new products, but they often are responsible for the redesign of existing products.

Our goal at Interface is to help R&D engineers identify the best sensor-related products they can use to work through the problems they are seeking to solve. The products we provide validate findings through highly accurate sensor test and measurement data. There are some R&D applications that need just one or two load cells and basic instrumentation to conduct the project testing. Other times Interface is asked to create an application-specific engineered to order part or design a custom measurement solution to achieve the desired test and measurement outcomes. The later is often the case if a sensor is an actual part of the product design. Interface has helped R&D engineers assess all kinds of prototypes and early designs using our precision force measurement devices.

Force measurement is used throughout the product research and development lifecycle, from ideation and prototyping, to robust testing and eventual commercialization phases.

  • IDEATION: In the ideation phase, we provide force measurement solutions for testing materials for compatibility with the idealized product’s use cases.
  • PROTOTYPING: In prototyping, force sensors help engineers select a minimum viable product (MVP) design. Sensors are used in the lab environment to validate a product or component, or as an actual embedded sensors utilized for real-time feedback and performance monitoring.
  • TESTING: When a product moves into the testing phase, it ready for a more thorough batch of tests including cycle and fatigue testing. Our load cells, torque transducers and instrumentation are commonly used in these environments. Every product will require a sensor model that fits by specifications and capacity.
  • COMMERCIALIZATION: Finally, when a product is ready for commercialization, we provide products used to run a variety of tests to ensure the product is constructed in a way that is safe for the user and meets certain force related specifications for intended use.

To give you an example of how an R&D engineer utilizes force sensors, we have included a few application examples below.

R&D Testing for Bicycle Manufacturer

A bike manufacturing company R&D engineer created a new handlebar design. They need to test the handlebar concept for their bikes during the R&D phase to ensure they will perform for a rugged trail ride experience, while ensuring safety of the recreational equipment. The R&D team took the concept and conducted fatigue tests on their handlebars to observe its structure and performance durability before mass production.  Interface suggested using Interface Mini™ product SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cells. Two of these s-type load cells are attached on either end of the bike’s handlebar stem, where it will measure the forces applied as the handlebar undergoes its fatigue test. Results can be measured, logged, and graphed with the SI-USB Universal Serial Bus Dual Channel PC Interface Module.

Research Rig Used for Testing Prosthetic Designs

Prosthetic limbs must undergo rigorous R&D testing prior to manufacturing. These critical apparatuses are tested for extreme loading that can occur during falls, accidents, and sports movements. Fatigue testing of prosthetic components determines the expected lifespan of the components under normal usage. R&D engineers use testing data to determine whether prosthetic materials and designs will withstand the rigors of daily use and occasional high load situations. For the R&D project, various configurations of compression and tension test machines can be used depending on the type of prosthetic device being tested. Often the same machine can be used for static and fatigue testing. For this application, an SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is mounted between a hydraulic actuator and the device being evaluated. During static testing, loads are applied to the specimen using the load cell signal as force feedback control of the test machine. During a fatigue test, the actuator repeatedly applies and removes the force to simulate activity such as walking. Tilt tables may be used to apply forces at various angles to simulate the heel-to-toe movement of walking or running. The 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, mV/V Indicator with Logging Software was used to store the research data.

 

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing for Prototype

Battery technology is critical to the evolution of electric vehicles, so there are a variety of tests performed on new innovations in EV battery technology. As electric vehicles push advancements in efficiency gains, structural battery packaging is at the forefront for optimization. This drives the need to validate structural battery pack design, both in terms of life expectancy against design targets as well as crash test compliance and survivability.  Interface’s solution for this challenge included 1100 Ultra-Precision LowProfile Load Cells in-line with hydraulic or electromechanical actuators in the customer’s test stand. Also utilized were 6-Axis Load Cells to capture reactive forces transmitting through pack structure. Multi-axis measurement brings greater system level insight and improved product success. The tests performed using Interface’s force measurement products were able to validate the battery packs strong structural design.

Proving Theoretical Cutting Forces Of Rotary Ultrasonic Machining

Rotary ultrasonic machining is a hybrid process that combines diamond grinding with ultrasonic machining to provide fast, high-quality drilling of many ceramic and glass applications. This new method has been theoretically proven using computer models. Rotary ultrasonic machining generates forces of an exceedingly small magnitude. To prove this theory, any load cell used for measurement must be sensitive, while at the same time retaining high structural stiffness within a compact, low-profile envelope. Interface’s 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell was installed in the rotary ultrasonic machine to measure the forces being applied to a sample part. With clear signals and minimal crosstalk, the applied forces are recorded and stored using an the BSC4D Multi-Channel PC Interface Module. The 3-Axis load cell provided excellent data helping uncover the relationship between machine cutting parameters and the forces applied on the component. Using this knowledge, the machining process was reliably optimized for new materials and operations.

The role of Interface as it pertains to R&D is constantly growing as engineers create new innovations to solve a myriad of challenges throughout the world. We provide the most accurate and reliable force measurement systems to help advance technology across industries.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE

Interface OEM Solutions Process

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Interface Solutions for Consumer Product Goods

CPG Bike Frame Fatigue Testing

CPG Treadmill Force Measurement

CPG Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Interface Sensors Used for Development and Testing of Surgical Robotics

Fitness Equipment Makers Require Extreme Accuracy