Breathe Easier: Using Core Independent Peripherals to Design a Cost-Effective Drug Delivery Device

December 11, 2018 Microchip Technology, Inc.

Medical nebulizers are drug delivery devices that break up medications into small aerosol droplets and deliver them directly to the airways for respiratory therapy. These medical devices are commonly used for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory diseases.

Vibrating mesh nebulizers offer many advantages including small size, portability, quiet operation, short treatment times, battery operation, increased output efficiency and minimal residual volume. Microchip’s Vibrating Mesh Nebulizer Demonstration Board* is a unique implementation of a cost-effective drug delivery device. This single-chip implementation of a piezoelectric transducer mesh nebulizer leverages the integrated Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) on a PIC16F1713 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) to significantly offload the handling of the control functions, including driving the boost and piezo output stages, from the core.

The PIC16F1713 MCU selected for this reference design includes these features:

  • eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology
  • Core Independent Peripherals: Numerically Controlled  Oscillator (NCO), Configurable Logic Cell (CLC),  Complementary Output Generator (COG) and Zero Cross Detect (ZCD)
  • Integrated capacitive touch sensing
  • 17-channel 10-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC)
  • 8-bit and 5-bit Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs)
  • Integrated operational amplifiers
  • Peripheral Pin Select (PPS)
  • Several packages available including a small ultra-thin QFN (UQFN) package

MCUs with CIPs are designed to handle tasks independently with no code or supervision from the MCU’s core during operation. Using CIPs can shorten your development time of complex control systems, reduce component count, board size and power consumption, and give you the flexibility to create innovative products. In this demonstration board, the CIPs on the PIC16F1713 MCU handle the following functions:

  • The CLC, PWMs, op amps, comparators and DACs drive the first boost stage
  • The NCO drives the piezo output stage

The Vibrating Mesh Nebulizer Demonstration Board can be powered by three AAA batteries, USB or an external power supply. It also includes test points and a USB interface for easy development and debug.

This reference design will help you develop low-cost piezoelectric transducer driver functionality for nebulizers and other drug delivery devices. While the demonstration board is not for sale, you can get started with your development by visiting the Vibrating Mesh Nebulizer Demonstration Board page and downloading the application note, the schematics and the ‘C’ source code that can easily be modified to your specific application needs. Contact your local Microchip Sales Representative if you would like to see a working demonstration of the Vibrating Mesh Nebulizer Demonstration Board. 

*Microchip medical reference designs and demos are intended for evaluation and development purposes only. Use of Microchip devices in life support and/or safety applications is entirely at the buyer’s risk, and the buyer agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Microchip from any and all damages, claims, suits, or expenses resulting from such use.

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