An important emerging application direction is personal and environmental health monitoring, where physiological and mechanical signals of people, machines, and buildings are monitored in a preventative fashion to ensure optimal operation and improved quality of life. Monitoring is accomplished by acquiring data and transmitting it over a self-forming wireless network for further processing and observation at a remote site. Unfortunately, traditional wireless techniques require circuits that consume significant energy, forcing devices to use large, obtrusive batteries. Body-worn applications in particular require small devices that can last for days, weeks, years or potentially forever, depending on the application. In many cases, the devices must operate from an energy scavenging source (e.g., body heat, ambient lighting or human motion), which can be highly unreliable. While considerable work has been done in the area of wireless sensor networks over the past decade, a number of new challenges is presented by Body Area Networks (BANs).
Figure 1 illustrates an entire platform for connected personal and environmental health, including the use of ultra-low-power wireless circuits, and electronic textiles (eTextiles) for data communication around the body. The high-level goal of this project is to make communication of sensed signals, particularly around the body, reliable and secure in the presence of stochastically-varying energy supplies and network conditions.
Figure 1: A platform for connected personal and environmental health.
Part of the Energy Efficient Integrated Circuits & Systems Group at MIT
Platforms for Ultra-Low-Power
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