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Biomedical System on Chips

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EDA layout of VivoSoC 3 and potential application.

Every human and animal body generates a large and steady amount of data as consequence of several underlying life-long processes, e.g., respiration, vascular system dynamic, muscle contraction. By acquiring and processing these vital signals, usually by electrical or optical means, substantial amount of information can be extracted, enabling sense-making being used to take informative decisions. Successful application examples range from commercial fitness-tracker gadgets to medical-grade devices that enables tele-health remote medicine, as well as edge-cutting scientific research on living biological models.

Even though part of the larger Internet-of-Things vision, the point-of-contact electronics that interfaces the biological system with the cloud-based digital world is very critical due to unique challenges such as signal acquisition in the μV range or computationally demanding local processing with just a few mW of power budget.

As a joint effort between the Analog and Mixed Signal and Digital Design Groups we are exploring deep integration of analog precision sensing circuits with the digital processing platform of the PULP family; the combined workforce and expertise converge on the VivoSoC project. Over the recent years, several prototypes have been developed toward higher integration and better energy efficiency. The latest version can be found in the IIS chip gallery. A detailed description of both the VivoSoC ASIC itself as well as the surrounding mobile health platform alongside application examples is available in the related publications; [1] and [2] for example give a comprehensive overview.

VivoSoC and its platform is an ongoing project at our lab and we are looking for motivated students to contribute on the following topics:

  • Software/firmware development to showcase the existing hardware and system potential in real applications (Digital Signal Processing, Machine Learning Algorithms).
  • Analog circuit design and layout for low-power high-precision biomedical applications.
  • Digital design of efficient processing units, accelerators, filters and peripherals/interfaces.
  • PCB design to enable new applications with tight form factors (from wearable to implantable).

Project Examples

Below you can find some example project proposals; due to the flexibility and complexity of the platform there are many more possibilities. If you have a specific project or idea in mind that you'd like to work on, just contact us!


The references can be accessed free of charge within the ETHZ network.
[1] P. Schönle et al.: A Multi-Sensor and Parallel Processing SoC for Miniaturized Medical Instrumentation
[2] F. Glaser et al.: Towards a Mobile Health Platform with Parallel Processing and Multi-sensor Capabilities
[3] F. Michoud et al.: Epineural optogenetic activation of nociceptors initiates and amplifies inflammation