Wireless Communication with Implanted Medical Devices Using the Conductive Properties of the Body

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
Expert Review of Medical Devices (Impact Factor: 1.68). 07/2011; 8(4):427-33. DOI: 10.1586/erd.11.16
Source: PubMed


Many medical devices that are implanted in the body use wires or wireless radiofrequency telemetry to communicate with circuitry outside the body. However, the wires are a common source of surgical complications, including breakage, infection and electrical noise. In addition, radiofrequency telemetry requires large amounts of power and results in low-efficiency transmission through biological tissue. As an alternative, the conductive properties of the body can be used to enable wireless communication with implanted devices. In this article, several methods of intrabody communication are described and compared. In addition to reducing the complications that occur with current implantable medical devices, intrabody communication can enable novel types of miniature devices for research and clinical applications.

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    • "Since IBC is not a radiation methodology, low frequency carrier (less than 1 MHz) is a possible and common selection. The advantages of using low frequency carrier, in general, can minimize the local heating [9], and allow one to simplify the design of the transceiver, thus reducing the overall power consumption (system clock) and the risk of eavesdropping at the expenses of data rate. Fortunately, the data rate requirement for home-based healthcare data monitoring can be relative low, e.g., 6 kbps in ECG, 7.2 kbps in SpO2 and 2.4 bps in body temperature surveillance [10]. "
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