May 17, 2022

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Exsurgo and ublox: chronic pain patients can restore their lives with the help of technology

Thalwil – u-blox (SIX: UBXN), a global provider of positioning and wireless technologies and services, and Exsurgo, a company that develops technology-enabled neurotherapies, announced that Exsurgo’s Axon headset for chronic pain works on a single device. ANNA-B112 Bluetooth 5 System-in-Package (SIP) Blox, also used for wireless communications.

The headset is part of a 116-person clinical trial designed to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Exsurgo plans to mass produce the device in the second half of 2022 to serve the US, UK and EU markets.

Exsurgo’s solution for chronic pain relief is based on neurofeedback, an approach that measures a user’s brain activity and provides case-specific feedback.

Electroencephalography (EEG) and neurofeedback

The Axon headset uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure electrical activity at multiple sites on a patient’s scalp. This data is then sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to a mobile device where a near-instant visual representation of the patient’s EEG activity is displayed. Using a mobile neurofeedback app, the patient can then perform neurological exercises that train them to alter the state of their brain in a way that reduces their perception of chronic pain.

As with any medical device, the development process for the Axon headset was challenging. For maximum effectiveness, neurofeedback should be as close to real time as possible, which requires a low latency between the EEG signal and the visual feedback. Ease of use and comfort were also key factors. The headset should be thin, light and compact. Minimal power consumption also helps reduce the hassle of device maintenance and charging.

Internet of Things Technology in the smallest space

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Working with the ultra-compact ANNA-B112 Bluetooth 5 SIP, measuring just 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 mm, Exsurgo was able to reduce the overall size of the electronics and create a product that patients want to use. Thanks to the large payload capacity of Bluetooth 5, they are able to achieve data rates high enough to transmit data from multiple EEG electrodes while still meeting the demanding latency requirements.

“The Axon headset is a great demonstration of how IoT technology can offer a previously costly solution to a much wider audience. Chronic pain is a major drain on healthcare systems and economies, affecting up to one in five people around the world. We are excited that Be part of a solution that will have a life-changing impact on millions of people.” Pelle Svensson, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Product Center Short Range at u-blox.

u-blox has added value during the development process of the Axon headset, not only as a hardware supplier but also as a design partner. The ANNA-B112’s small size, powerful microprocessor and detailed reference diagrams for seamless integration into our electronics project were critical to the development of a high-quality medical device,” Faisal Al-Misfer, Chief Technology Officer at Exsurgo. (u-blox/mc/hfu)