Heterogeneous error-resilient scheme for spectral analysis in ultra-low power wearable electrocardiogram devices

Soumya Basu, Georgios Karakonstantis, Giovanni Ansaloni, David Atienza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Wearable devices performing advanced bio-signal analysis algorithms are aimed to foster a revolution in healthcare provision of chronic cardiac diseases. In this context, energy efficiency is of paramount importance, as long-term monitoring must be ensured while relying on a tiny power source. Operating at a scaled supply voltage, just above the threshold voltage, effectively helps in saving substantial energy, but it makes circuits, and especially memories, more prone to errors, threatening the correct execution of algorithms. The use of error detection and correction codes may help to protect the entire memory content, however it incurs in large area and energy overheads which may not be compatible with the tight energy budgets of wearable systems. To cope with this challenge, in this paper we propose to limit the overhead of traditional schemes by selectively detecting and correcting errors only in data highly impacting the end-to-end quality of service of ultra-low power wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) devices. This partition adopts the protection of either significant words or significant bits of each data element, according to the application characteristics (statistical properties of the data in the application buffers), and its impact in determining the output. The proposed heterogeneous error protection scheme in real ECG signals allows substantial energy savings (11% in wearable devices) compared to state-of-the-art approaches, like ECC, in which the whole memory is protected against errors. At the same time, it also results in negligible output quality degradation in the evaluated power spectrum analysis application of ECG signals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781479987184
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015
EventIEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2015 - Montpellier, France
Duration: 08 Jul 201510 Jul 2015


ConferenceIEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2015


  • Embedded systems
  • Error tolerance
  • Power spectrum analysis
  • Ultra-low power
  • Wearable health monitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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