Zarlink Radio Solution Powers Miniaturization of Medical Wireless and Remote Sensor Devices

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Mar 17, 2009 -- Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. (TSX: ZL) today introduced a new radio chip that delivers the unique combination of ultra-low peak power and very high efficiency to enable continuous monitoring in a broad range of medical and sensor applications.

Customers are evaluating the ZL™70250 radio chip for use in on-body devices such as electrocardiograms (ECGs) that record heart activity, oximetry systems that measure oxygen levels in the blood (SpO2), continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for diabetes patients, and sound and voice communication systems. The radio chip is also being used in devices that must operate within very confined spaces, such as inside the mouth.

Consuming less that 2 milliwatts (mW) with an efficiency of 11 nanojoules per bit (nJ/bit) - fives times less power than competing devices - the ZL70250 radio chip allows designers to significantly shrink the size of existing wireless devices and extend operating life. In addition, the ultra-low power performance allows the device to be operated directly from coin cell batteries, enabling the design of very compact devices previously not possible due to battery size limitations.

The radio chip's extremely low power characteristics also make it ideal for "green" communication systems powered by emerging energy-harvesting techniques. This includes solar powered wireless sensor networks used to monitor environmental changes, and on-body medical devices that gather power from body heat.

"Zarlink has solved the power and size challenges faced by designers when developing compact wireless devices that must support continuous monitoring," said Didier Sagan, marketing manager with Zarlink's Medical Products Group. "Zarlink is a leading provider of ultra-low power radios for the medical telemetry market. Building on this expertise, the ZL70250 chip makes wireless telemetry possible in a new generation of devices. In addition, the highly integrated chip and supporting application development kit helps simplify design complexity, reduce component count, and speed time-to-market."

Ultra low-power performance

The ZL70250 radio chip typically consumes 2 milliamps (mA) total in both the transmit and receive mode to enable extremely long battery life or very small battery size without requiring bulky charge storage capacitors. The very low supply voltage of 1 to 2 volts (V) further reduces power consumption and allows the device to be powered from a single-cell battery. A user interface control enables the designer to customize a number of parameters depending on the application to fully optimize power use.

The chip operates in the 795-965 megahertz (MHz) frequency bands, and offers data rates up to 186 kilobits per second (kbps) at distances as far as a few hundred meters. The high data rate allows short data bursts and supports bi-directional voice communications. Duty cycling can be employed for applications that do not require a continuous communication link to further reduce power consumption.

Availability and support

The ZL70250 is in full production and is available as a 2 millimeter (mm) x 3 mm bumped die to enable applications with an extremely small footprint. Zarlink will be introducing new radio modules integrating the ZL70250 product later this year. The device is fully supported by the ZLE70250 RF Telemetry Application Development Kit (ADK). The kit includes all hardware and software necessary to quickly and easily design wireless communication systems based on the ZL70250 transceiver chip.

For more information on the ZL70250 radio chip, visit:

About Zarlink Semiconductor

For over 30 years, Zarlink Semiconductor has delivered semiconductor solutions that drive the capabilities of voice, enterprise, broadband and wireless communications. The Company's success is built on its technology strengths including voice and data networks, optoelectronics and ultra low-power communications. For more information, visit

Shareholders and other individuals wishing to receive, free of charge, copies of the reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Regulatory Authorities, should visit the Company's web site at or contact Investor Relations.

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, among others, the following: our dependence on the successful development and market introduction of new products; our ability to integrate any business, technologies, product lines or services that we have or will acquire; our dependence on revenue generation from our legacy products in order to fund development of our new products; current market conditions, including the lack of liquidity in the markets and economic slowdown, may increase our operating costs or reduce our revenue, thereby negatively impacting our operating results; our ability to operate profitably and generate positive cash flows in the future; the impact of the current economic crisis on our suppliers and customers and our ability to transfer parts to other suppliers; our dependence on our foundry suppliers and third-party subcontractors; order cancellations and deferrals by our customers; our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial position; the cost and accounting implications of compliance with new accounting standards; and other factors referenced in our Annual Report on Form 20-F. Investors are encouraged to consider the risks detailed in this filing.

Zarlink and the Zarlink Semiconductor logo are trademarks of Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.

Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.
Ed Goffin
Media Relations and Investor Relations

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