UHF RFID Readers Safest for Pacemakers

April 11, 2010

Research was conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health on how RFID readers affect pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).

The findings show that the readers in the LF band produced the most significant reaction; 67 percent of all pacemakers tested showed EMI interference from these devices at a maximum distance of 60 centimeters (24 inches) between the interrogator and the pacemaker. And 47 percent of all ICDs tested showed interference at a maximum distance of 40 centimeters (16 inches).

During HF exposure, an adverse reaction was observed for 6 percent of all pacemaker tests when the maximum distance was 22.5 centimeters (9 inches), and 1 percent of all ICD tests when the maximum distance was 7.5 centimeters (3 inches).

But the UHF readers produced no measurable reaction from either the pacemakers or the ICDs.

Read the full report by click on the link: RFID Readers Impact on Pacemakers and ICDs

Where’s My Bailout?

June 3, 2009

OK, so chances are neither you nor your company are going to get a check from the U.S. Treasury for billions of dollars but there are ways you can benefit from the economic stimulus plan (formally titled American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

Yahoo has actually set up a web page entitled Stimulus Job Watch which highlights and updates resources as they become available. The article highlights specific careers which types of jobs will be in demand, the top one being Electrical Engineers (with median annual salaries provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics):Electrical engineers ($79,240).

To be qualified for many of these engineering jobs, you may need to be a certified “Professional Engineer” or PE.The requirements vary from state to state; here is a link to a directory to find the requirements in your state and a direct link for those of us in Oregon.

Here is a highlight of some of the career fields which economists agree are poised to see a boost as a direct or indirect result of the stimulus. These include:

Energy and Utilities. A key part of the stimulus plan is the modernization of the nation’s electrical grid. “Smart grid” jobs will include regulators hired by public utility commissions, in addition to load management engineers, meter manufacturers and systems control center operators. You can read more about the specifics of smart meters and the opportunities for engineers on my post The Short, Smart Play.

Medical Information Technology. The stimulus bill includes $19 billion for updating health information technology. This will likely create opportunities for hardware and software companies as the wireless infrastructure is updated and expanded. I certainly am seeing an increase in interest from engineers in the biomedical technology field needing to do more spectrum management as they implement wireless patient monitoring, asset location and tracking services and WiFi access while still maintaining legacy paging and radio systems in the face of new interference sources such as High Definition Broadcast Television which definitely caused problems for Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. In fact, some companies such as Anritsu, have already developed products and training courses which focus on interference analysis in a hospital environment.

Education and Training. Many states have made cuts in their education budgets, but the stimulus plan calls for a $53.6 billion state-stabilization to help states avoid further cuts and layoffs.  The stimulus also sets aside funds for modernization of schools which are more often adopting the corporate model of utilizing e-learning. While sales leads at my company, T&M Consulting, for instructor-lead training are down slightly, the interest in developing and maintaining e-learning is growing. Specifically, there is significant interest in using inexpensive and flexible open-source tools to develop interactive product training, which is an area of expertise for our training consultants.

History and numerous studies have shown that the individuals and companies who make a strong move toward learning and growth as the economy pulls out of a recession benefit from significantly more growth then those who wallow in despair and inactivity while waiting for the “economy to stabilize”.

Feel free to share your thoughts or let me know how I can help.