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
Michael Dorsey | Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Study shows novel protein plays role in bacterial vaginosis
13.12.2019 | University of Arizona Health Sciences
Illinois team develops first of a kind in-vitro 3D neural tissue model
12.12.2019 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.
For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?
It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences