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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 31, 2017

OR.NET RT: how service-oriented medical device architecture meets real-time communication

  • Jonas H. Pfeiffer EMAIL logo , Martin Kasparick ORCID logo , Benjamin Strathen , Christian Dietz , Max E. Dingler , Tim C. Lueth , Dirk Timmermann , Klaus Radermacher and Frank Golatowski


Today’s landscape of medical devices is dominated by stand-alone systems and proprietary interfaces lacking cross-vendor interoperability. This complicates or even impedes the innovation of novel, intelligent assistance systems relying on the collaboration of medical devices. Emerging approaches use the service-oriented architecture (SOA) paradigm based on Internet protocol (IP) to enable communication between medical devices. While this works well for scenarios with no or only soft timing constraints, the underlying best-effort communication scheme is insufficient for time critical data. Real-time (RT) networks are able to reliably guarantee fixed latency boundaries, for example, by using time division multiple access (TDMA) communication patterns. However, deterministic RT networks come with their own limitations such as tedious, inflexible configuration and a more restricted bandwidth allocation. In this contribution we overcome the drawbacks of both approaches by describing and implementing mechanisms that allow the two networks to interact. We introduce the first implementation of a medical device network that offers hard RT guarantees for control and sensor data and integrates into SOA networks. Based on two application examples we show how the flexibility of SOA networks and the reliability of RT networks can be combined to achieve an open network infrastructure for medical devices in the operating room (OR).

  1. Research funding: This research has been funded within the project “OR.NET – Secure and Dynamic Networking in Operating Room and Hospital” by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (OR.NET – 16KT1202, 16KT1203, 16KT1238) and in parts within the project “ZiMT – Certifiable Integrated Medical Technology and IT Systems based on Open Standards in the Operating Room and Hospital” by the State of North-Rhine Westphalia and the European Commission – European Regional Development Fund (EFRE, grant no.: EFRE-0800454).

  2. Author contributions

    Sections contributed by the Institute of Micro Technology and Medical Device Technology, Technical University of Munich are “Introduction”, “Situation in the medical device domain”, “Realization: SDC meets SRTB” and “Conclusion and future work”. Sections contributed by the Institute of Applied Microelectronics and Computer Engineering, University of Rostock are “Related work”, “OR.NET RT: non-real-time SDC meets SRTB real-time network” and “Conclusion and future work”. Sections contributed by the Chair of Medical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University are “SDC meets surgical robotic systems” and “Conclusion and future work”.


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Received: 2017-2-9
Accepted: 2017-9-4
Published Online: 2017-10-31
Published in Print: 2018-2-23

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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