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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


New Tech Tuesdays: Empowering Independence: The Impact of GNSS on Elder Care Rudy Ramos

New Tech Tuesdays

Join Rudy Ramos for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

The growing population of elderly individuals poses significant challenges to healthcare systems worldwide. As seniors strive to maintain independence, innovative solutions are needed to address their unique needs. Sensing, positioning, and cloud-based platforms offer immense potential in this regard, providing crucial support and peace of mind for elderly individuals and their caregivers.

The Aging Population Challenge

With new medical advancements and increased standards of living, the average global life expectancy has risen significantly to over 73 years, resulting in a rapid increase in the world’s population over the last century, which is now past eight billion and projected to reach nine billion by 2040.[1] It is projected that one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030.[2] And although most of them are healthier and living longer, many of them have existing chronic health issues.

Furthermore, this aging population trend is only expected to grow with Millennials (born 1981–1996) already surpassing that of Boomers, and Generation X (born 1965–1980) likely to do the same by 2028.[3] It is not surprising that the digital therapeutics market worldwide is projected to reach US$4.68 billion in 2024 and US$9.65 billion by 2028.[4]

This combination of a rapidly aging population and an increase in life expectancy is fueling demand for digital health solutions like mobile health (mHealth), health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth, telemedicine, and digital therapeutics, all of which are subsets of healthcare.

This week, we look at precision positioning technology that combines accuracy, security, and data optimization, with an eye on how this new tech presents critical advancements in elder care, particularly in providing the ability to locate elderly individuals accurately.

The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs®

The MIA-M10 series of GNSS modules from u-blox are small, low-power devices designed for asset tracking and wearable applications (Figure 1). Their compact size (4.5mm × 4.5mm) and low power consumption (less than 25mW) make them ideal for discreet and long-lasting use in elder care devices. These modules are highly integrated, minimizing external component requirements and offering exceptional performance even with small antennas.[5]

Figure 1: The ultra-low-power u-blox MIA-M10 module delivers long-lasting, dependable performance using a tiny antenna and battery, speeding up the development of compact asset-tracking solutions. (Source: u-blox)

The MIA-M10 GNSS modules are available in two options:

  • The MIA-M10Q integrates an LNA followed by a SAW filter in the RF path for maximum sensitivity in passive antenna designs.
  • The MIA-M10C offers flexibility for active antenna designs.

These small, highly integrated System-in-Package (SiP) modules require only 20mm2 board space without the need for external components. See Figure 2 for a part comparison between the two modules.

Figure 2: Comparison of u-blox's MIA-M10 GNSS modules. (Source: u-blox)

Accurate Positioning for Emergency Response

The MIA-M10 modules utilize advanced filtering algorithms and security features, ensuring reliable and robust operation in challenging environments. By simultaneously tracking multiple satellite constellations (GPS, Galileo, BeiDou, and GLONASS), these modules provide accurate positioning data, enabling first responders or relatives to pinpoint the exact location of a vulnerable individual in an emergency situation.

Privacy-centric Design for Health Data Protection

These advanced MIA-M10 module solutions are designed with privacy in mind. They safeguard the health data of end users by leveraging secure communication interfaces and protecting against unauthorized access. This privacy-centric approach ensures that personal information remains confidential, giving seniors peace of mind and protecting their sensitive data.

The MIA-M10Q module supports secure communication interfaces using the following features:

  • Cryptographic message signing: All messages can be cryptographically signed to guarantee authenticity and protect against tampering.
  • Secure boot process: Only signed firmware images can be executed, preventing the installation of malicious firmware.
  • Message integrity: The receiver's configuration can be locked by command, and real-time position accuracy estimates are provided with a 95 percent confidence level.
  • Anti-jamming and anti-spoofing protection: The receiver can detect and report RF interference, jamming, and spoofing attempts.

Cloud-based Solutions for Enhanced Care

In conjunction with sensing and positioning technologies, cloud-based platforms play a crucial role in elder care. These platforms facilitate data storage, analysis, and remote monitoring, enabling caregivers to track the well-being of their loved ones remotely. They also allow for proactive interventions based on insights derived from collected data, thus improving overall health outcomes and quality of life.

Knowing the location of your loved one can be crucial. Having that information delivered exactly where you need it saves power, cost, and effort. CloudLocate is the u-blox cloud-based positioning service that enables energy autonomy for IoT asset tracking applications by off-loading positioning calculation to the cloud, achieving up to ten times power savings over a standalone GNSS fix (Figure 3). CloudLocate delivers location where you need it—in the cloud enterprise. The service works with every connectivity and is optimized for low bandwidth networks, making it ideal for use cases requiring long battery life.

Figure 3: CloudLocate delivers precise location tracking for any IoT device equipped to send the GNSS measurement to the service. (Source: u-blox)

Tuesday’s Takeaway

As a result of medical advancements and improved living standards, the average global life expectancy has risen to over 73 years, causing the world's elderly population to grow quickly, which creates enormous challenges to healthcare systems worldwide. The combination of sensing, locating, and cloud-based technology has considerable potential for increasing the autonomy and well-being of senior citizens. The MIA-M10 series GNSS modules from u-blox offer precise positioning, while privacy-focused designs and cloud-based platforms ensure data protection and remote monitoring. By embracing these innovative solutions, we can help seniors live independently, giving them and their caretakers peace of mind.

   

Sources:

[1] "Global demographics - Statistics & Facts." Statista, January 10, 2024, https://www.statista.com/topics/9851/global-demographics/.
[2] "Healthcare for the Elderly in the U.S.,” Statista, accessed March 7, 2024, https://www.statista.com/topics/11380/healthcare-for-the-elderly-in-the-us/.
[3] Fry, Richard. "Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation.” Pew Research Center, April 28, 2020, https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/04/28/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers-as-americas-largest-generation/.
[4] “Digital Therapeutics - Worldwide." Statista, https://www.statista.com/outlook/hmo/digital-health/digital-treatment-care/digital-therapeutics/worldwide.
[5] “u-blox launches world’s smallest GPS module.” u-blox, June 15, 2022, https://www.u-blox.com/en/u-blox-launches-worlds-smallest-GPS-module.



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Rudy RamosRudy is a member of the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, bringing 35+ years of expertise in advanced electromechanical systems, robotics, pneumatics, vacuum systems, high voltage, semiconductor manufacturing, military hardware, and project management. As a technology subject matter expert, Rudy supports global marketing efforts through his extensive product knowledge and by creating and editing technical content for Mouser's website. Rudy has authored technical articles appearing in engineering websites and holds a BS in Technical Management and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, Rudy worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.


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