With the rapid increase of technology at the patient's bedside, a hospital room can get crowded. That's why it's often necessary to have equipment in remote locations.

Nihon Kohden America (Irvine, California) has deployed Icron's (Burnaby, British Columbia) USB extension technology to bolster the capabilities and effectiveness of its Neurofax EEG-1100A instruments.

"Icron provides a solution that increases the flexibility of our installations by overcoming the USB distance limitations," Bryan Kehoe, Nihon's business unit manager-EEG/EMU, told Medical Device Daily. "This allows Nihon Kohden to place acquisition PCs in a control room and away from the bedside. This improves the patient environment at the bedside."

Engineers who designed the Neurofax EEG, which measures brain activity, faced challenges when trying to use the computer in a different room from the power amplifier due to the 16-foot distance limitation imposed by the standard USB connection. The product design team recognized they needed an extended USB connection capable of connecting the Neurofax EEG to a computer in another room in order to provide medical staff with complete flexibility in locating the machine.

"There are inexpensive USB extenders out there, but we wanted a product that worked flawlessly with our extremely precise equipment and one that was easily customizable to deliver the power requirements we needed," said Kehoe.

"The maximum distance for a peripheral is usually about 15 feet," Icron's Brian Donnelly, VP marketing and business development, told MDD. "That can be a problem for people who need to locate a PC in a benign room and another piece in another room. Nihon had an EEG that was particularly sensitive to some of the problems that might come down the PC line. We did some special work on our extension device and increased the power outlet."

Now that extension is out to 328 feet (100 meters).

"The market for this is for any medical device that needs to be located at a remote distance," Donnelly said. "Being able to have that distant extension was critical to Nihon for patient care."

Icron has been in the business of extending the reach of technology for 10 years with technology Donnelly calls extreme USB.

"It's Icron's secret sauce," he said. "Nobody else can extend as far as we can."

Icron modified the Ranger 110 to increase the USB output power to meet the Neurofax's power requirements. A second modification to the Ranger 110, a small change to grounding circuitry, ensured there was no interference with the sensitive EEG machines.