ITL Scientists Implement Innovative Immersive Platform to Study RF Propagation from Medical Implants
Body area networks which consist of radio frequency (RF)-enabled wearable and implantable sensory nodes are poised to be a promising interdisciplinary technology with novel uses in pervasive health information technology. However, numerous challenges including size, cost, energy source, sensing/actuator technology, and transceiver design still need to be resolved. Knowledge of the propagation media is a key step toward a successful transceiver design. Such information is typically gathered by conducting physical experiments, measuring and processing the corresponding data to obtain channel characteristics. In the case of medical implants, this could be extremely difficult if at all possible.
The Implant Communication System (ICS) project, as part of the ITL Pervasive IT Program, successfully implemented an immersive visualization environment that can be used as a scientific instrument which enables us to observe RF propagation from medical implants inside a human body. This virtual environment allows for more natural interaction between experts with different backgrounds, such as engineering and medical sciences. In collaboration with the Medical ICT Institute of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan, this platform has been successfully used to determine a statistical path loss model for task group TG6 of IEEE802.15. The ITL scientists involved in this project are John Hagedorn, Wenbin Yang, Kamran Sayrafian, and Judith Terrill.