Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

WPI Receives $1.2 Million Award from NIST for Groundbreaking Study of Wireless Body Area Networks

18.03.2010
Led by Wireless Information Network Pioneer Kaveh Pahlavan, the Research Aims to Spur Rapid Development of This New Medical Technology

The Center for Wireless Information Network Studies (CWINS) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received a three-year, $1.2 million award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct a groundbreaking study of the propagation of radio waves around and through the human body.

Led by Kaveh Pahlavan, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of CWINS, the research will help speed the development of and create standards for body area networks (BANs), a new generation of wireless networks that support a variety of medical applications, from monitoring the functioning of implanted devices to helping perform virtual endoscopic exams.

The award is one of only 27 funded (from 1,300 proposals), through NIST’s AARA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Measurement, Science & Engineering Grants program.

BANs are made up of compact medical sensors that can be worn by individuals or implanted in their bodies, depending upon the application. Data from the sensors are transmitted to base stations and then on to hospitals or clinics, where they may be monitored and analyzed. Data from these sensors can also be used to pinpoint the location of medical devices, for example implants or tiny sensors ingested to study the digestive system. Though most initial applications of BANs are expected to be in healthcare, the networks will likely find uses in many other areas. For example, they may be used to monitor athletes or military personnel.

BANs may make it possible for doctors and other healthcare professionals to remotely monitor patients around the clock. Data from a BAN installed in or on a person with a history of cardiac health issues, for instance, might alert doctors to heart rhythm irregularities, enabling emergency personnel to respond before a potentially fatal heart actually occurs. Similarly, BANs may make it possible for doctors to remotely monitor patients with diabetes, whose insulin levels could change abruptly, or people with seizure-causing disorders. And since BANs can be interactive, healthcare professionals could use them to deliver treatment from afar--for example, to patients with pacemakers or installed insulin pumps.

While BAN technology is still new, the industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Indeed, the FCC has recently allocated specific spectrum bands for wireless medical communications, and committees have been formed to address standardization of these emerging technologies. In fact, standardization is one of the areas that the WPI research aims to address, Pahlavan says. “Because innovations in wireless networks are based on radio propagation measurement science and engineering, standards committees devote considerable effort to measuring propagation characteristics,” he notes. “It is essential to have consistent standards in order to evaluate the respective performances of alternative wireless solutions.”

The goal of Pahlavan’s team, which enjoys an international reputation for its research on radio frequency propagation and localization in wireless data networks, is to apply what it has learned by studying larger-scale networks (from wireless local networks such as Wi-Fi to personal networks like Bluetooth) to developing a comprehensive program for measuring the characteristics of radio frequency propagation in and around the body. Measurement and modeling of radio propagation and localization at such a small scale is expected to be challenging, Pahlavan notes. His lab will use a combination of empirical measurements, computational modeling and studies of phantoms (structures that simulate the characteristics of the human body) to complete the work.

“This research will help propel the growth of this powerful technology in the United States and help pave the way for standardization for body-area networks,” Pahlavan says. “That growth, in turn, has both considerable economic implications and significant potential to improve healthcare.” In addition to Pahlavan, the WPI team includes Sergey Makarov, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Allen Levesque, adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Ferit Akgul and Yunxing Ye, doctoral candidates in electrical and computer engineering.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. WPI's14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, and information security, materials processing, and nanotechnology. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
Contact:
Michael Dorsey, Director of Research Communications
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-831-5609, mwdorsey@wpi.edu

Michael Dorsey | Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Further information:
http://www.wpi.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design
09.08.2018 | Scripps Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>