Fat-IBC A New Paradigm for Intra-body Communication

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: In the last two decades, a significant development in the field of medical technology occurred worldwide. This development is characterized by the materialization of various body implants and worn devices, that is devices attached to the body. These devices assist doctors and paramedical staff in effectively monitoring the patient’s health and helping increase patients’ average life expectancy. Furthermore, the various implants inside the human body serve different purposes according to the humans’ needs. As this situation became more prominent, the development of protocols and of reliable transmission media is becomes essential to improve the efficiency of inter-device communications. Positive prospects of the use of human tissue for intra-body communication were proven in recent studies. Fat tissues, for example, which also work as energy banks for human beings, can be potentially used in intra-body communications as transmission media. In this thesis, the fat (adipose) tissue’s function as an intra-body communication channel was investigated. Therefore, various simulations and experimentations were performed in order to characterize the reliability of the fat tissue in terms of communication, considering, for example, the effect that the variability in the thickness of adipose and muscular tissues could have on the communication performance, and the possible effect that the variability in the transmitted signal power could have on the data packet reception. Fat tissue displays superior performance in comparison to muscle tissue in the context of a low loss communication channel. For example, at 2.45 GHz, the path losses of ~0.7 dB/cm and ~1.9 dB/cm were observed for phantom and ex-vivo measurements, respectively. At a higher frequency of 5.8 GHz, the ex-vivo path loss was around 1.4 dB/cm. It was concluded from the results that the adipose tissue could function as a reliable medium supporting intra-body communication even under low power transmitted signals. Moreover, although the presence of thick blood vessels could degrade the signal strength, the results show that communication is possible even under the presence of perturbant tissues. Overall, the results of this thesis would provide a foundation in this area and assist researchers in developing innovative and solutions for intra-body communication.