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01.12.2016 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 1/2016

On the human body communications: wake-up receiver design and channel characterization

Zeitschrift:
EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking > Ausgabe 1/2016
Autoren:
Juha Petäjäjärvi, Konstantin Mikhaylov, Risto Vuohtoniemi, Heikki Karvonen, Jari Iinatti

Abstract

By modulating the electric field induced to a human body, it is possible to transfer data wirelessly using the body as a transmission medium. This method is referred to as human body communication (HBC), which has multiple advantages in comparison with the traditional radio frequency (RF) communication. First, it alleviates the traffic load from the radio channels, which are becoming more and more congested, as the number of connected wireless devices increases rapidly. Second, HBC can potentially provide higher security than traditional RF communication since the electric field stays in the vicinity of a human body, which makes eavesdropping more challenging. Third, the attenuation in the HBC frequency band is lower than in bands used by the other radio technologies for wireless body area networks. To improve energy efficiency in HBC, one approach is to utilize a wake-up receiver (WUR). The WUR is continuously listening for a pre-defined wake-up signal, which activates the other electric circuitry (e.g., sensing, processing, and communication). The use of WURs can significantly reduce the energy consumption and increase the lifetime of the sensing applications. In this work, we propose a superregenerative WUR solution which employs self-quenching and loose synchronization method and operating at sufficiently low (1.25 kbps) data rate in order to obtain high sensitivity while keeping the energy consumption low. This enables to achieve sensitivity of −97 dBm for 10−3 bit error rate while consuming only 40 μW. The details of the design and the performance evaluation results of the proposed solution are in the paper. Also, the paper reports the results of the practical measurements characterizing the impact of the electrode location on the path loss in an HBC channel. The presented results show that the proposed system can potentially enable communication between two any points on the body with low transmit power.

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