Key design differentiations to support medical device market

Louise Smyth

Many of the recent advances in optical displays can be applied successfully in optimising medical devices and personal healthcare devices.

For instance, a well-designed display can enable better readability for a healthcare device, whether it’s used by an elderly patient in their home or by a hospital operator reading it at a difficult angle.

Enhanced capabilities also empower healthcare experts to deliver aid and advice in environments and situations beyond the standard hospital room, where less than ideal viewing situations can be a factor in giving critical care. To support the medical device market, the Anders engineering team has developed several key design differentiators, including advanced optical bonding and enhanced backlight capabilities.

What is optical bonding?

Optical bonding is a process that dramatically reduces the internal reflections produced between the coverlens, sensor and display layers by filling the air gaps in between those layers with optically clear adhesives. This not only makes a huge difference to screen readability in brightly lit and outdoor environments, but also greatly improves the mechanical strength of the display.

In a non-bonded panel, ambient light is reflected at both the front and rear surfaces of the coverlens and also from the front surface of the display immediately behind it. As much as 13% of ambient light incident on the display surface can be reflected back into the user’s eye.

If the ambient light is particularly intense, such as bright electric lights or sunlight, the reflected light can overpower the backlight illumination and significantly impair readability. In a healthcare situation, this can be a serious drawback. Typical approaches to improve readability include increasing the backlight power or adding anti-reflective coating to the front of the coverlens.

Enhancing the medical device’s backlight display for greater readability

Another consideration is backlighting – the application requirements for your medical display will determine the brightness of the backlight. Is the display being used in high ambient lighting, or outdoor environments, for example? Anders can help enhance the brightness of your display in several ways, including: additional LEDs; double brightness enhancement film (DBEF); high bright LED chips; and high-powered LEDs.

Other considerations for improved performance include automotive grade and long-life LEDs; RGB colour LEDs for monochrome LCDs; heatsinks for thermal management and prolonged life; and built in LED driver circuits.

When designing a device, Anders makes sure to design for manufacturability (DFM). Whilst your device may look and perform as it should as a prototype, without proper preparation and design awareness, it may not withstand the rigours of manufacturing. With such stringent requirements in the medical device approval process, it’s critical to get it right the first time.

Design choices for medical displays may seem subtle and even superfluous, but in such an important environment, to the end user, they can be life-changing. And in such a transformational market, the opportunities are nearly endless. Displays need to be customised, durable and user-friendly. Designs need to be up to speed on the latest technology whilst conforming to the rigorous standards of medical devices. Although challenging, it’s encouraging to know that Anders, the people behind the screen, have the experience and know-how to create the best possible solution.

Mike Logan is Displays and Input Technology manager at Anders

 

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