Wireless communication using electro-magnetic (EM) fields acts as the backbone for information exchange among wearable devices around the human body. However, for Implanted devices, EM fields incur high amount of absorption in the tissue, while alternative modes of transmission including ultrasound, optical and magneto-electric methods result in large amount of transduction losses due to conversion of one form of energy to another, thereby increasing the overall end-to-end energy loss. To solve the challenge of powering and communication in a brain implant with low end-end channel loss, we present Bi-Phasic Quasistatic Brain Communication (BP-QBC), achieving < 60dB worst-case end-to-end channel loss at a channel length of 55mm, by avoiding the transduction losses during field-modality conversion. BP-QBC utilizes dipole coupling based signal transmission within the brain tissue using differential excitation in the transmitter and differential signal pick-up at the receiver, and offers 41X lower power w.r.t. traditional Galvanic Human Body Communication at a carrier frequency of 1MHz, by blocking any DC current paths through the brain tissue. Since the electrical signal transfer through the human tissue is electro-quasistatic up to several 10's of MHz range, BP-QBC allows a scalable (bps-10Mbps) duty-cycled uplink from the implant to an external wearable. The power consumption in the BP-QBC TX is only 0.52uW at 1Mbps (with 1% duty cycling), which is within the range of harvested body-coupled power in the downlink from an external wearable to the brain implant. Furthermore, BP-QBC eliminates the need for sub-cranial repeaters, as it utilizes quasi-static electrical signals, thereby avoiding any transduction losses. Such low end-to-end channel loss with high data rates would find applications in neuroscience, brain-machine interfaces, electroceuticals and connected healthcare.
Increasing number of devices being used in and around the human body has resulted in the exploration of the human body as a communication medium. In this paper, we design a channel model for implantable devices communicating outside the body using physically secure Electro-Quasistatic Human Body Communication. A galvanic receiver shows 5dB lower path loss than capacitive receiver when placed close to transmitter whereas a capacitive receiver has around 15dB lower path loss for larger separation between the transmitter and receiver. Finite Element Method (FEM) based simulations are used to analyze the communication channel for different receiver topologies and experimental data is used to validate the simulation results.
Security vulnerabilities demonstrated in implantable medical devices have opened the door for research into physically secure and low power communication methodologies. In this study, we perform a comparative analysis of commonly used ISM frequency bands and human body communication (HBC) for data transfer from in-body to out-of-body (IBOB). We develop a figure of merit (FoM) that comprises of the critical parameters to quantitatively compare the communication methodologies. We perform finite-element method (FEM)-based simulations and experiments to validate the FoM developed.