Antenna Challenges in Body centric Communications

Peter Hall

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


Body-centric communications is a key component in networks that work close to or in the human body. Two likely uses of these networks are the support of medical technology, in body sensor networks (BSNs), or to connect various electronic systems as in the personal network of a dismounted soldier. These two applications are now seen as the dominant drivers for body centric communications, with each having different needs. BSNs are very cost sensitive and must be user friendly, whilst data rates are relatively low. Data security is also an issue here, due to patient confidentiality. In the soldier case, a typical use may be the connection between a rifle sight and a helmet mounted display, which will require much higher data rates. Observability is crucial and radiation away from the body must be reduced so that enemy forces do not detect and attack the soldier.
New products in the medical BSN field are being regularly produced and some of these will be shown. Defence programmes for the body network equiped soldier will also be noted. Choice of frequency for the communications links is important and allocated bands will be discussed. In the design of radio links, it is clear that the antenna cannot be easily de-embedded from the channel. This leads to difficulties in optimised design, and progress in charaterisation of links both for narrowband and wideband signals will be reviewed, with reference to the various modes of radiowave propagation. For rapid antenna and link design, simulation tools are important, but remain a real challenge. The dynamics of the human body is the dominant determiner of link performance and simulation cannot easily handle body movement. Progress to date will be discussed.
Finally a current joint research programme involving the Universities of Birmingham and Durham, and Queen Mary University of London, on body-centric communications at 60 GHz will be discussed. The prime driver here is to reduce the interference between networks and the observability of the network. However channel shadowing is a major problem. Progress in high gain and reconfigurable antennas will be shown together with some channel characterisation results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSwedish Radio and Microwave Days
Subtitle of host publicationKTH Royal Institute of Technology 2012
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2012


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