A Transmission and Medium access Control Technique for Ultrasonic Communications in the Human Body


Existing technologies used for medical implants and on body devices utilizes radio frequency ("RF") electromagnetic waves. RF communication utilized for communicating between medical implants is similar to standard wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or ZigBee, and is faced with inherent limitations and safety concerns. Such technologies do not work underwater. The human body, mostly comprised of water, significantly dampens and inhibits RF communication. There are also legitimate health concerns with prolonged exposure to eM radiation produced through RF communication. For example, the World Health Organization has deemed RF radiation as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." Furthermore, the RF frequency is already, and is increasingly crowded with devices. As more and more wireless devices are competing for a limited range of frequencies there is posed an increased risk of interference or interception of communications.

UB researchers have developed the Ultrasonic Wideband (UsWB™) technology, which uses ultrasonic waves (i.e., acoustic waves at non-audible frequencies) to wirelessly internetwork implantable devices in human tissues. The UsWB™ technology provides reliable, high data rate, and low power communications for medical implants. Ultrasonic waves eliminate the problem of external interference and conflicts with existing RF communication systems. UsWB™ communications cannot be easily jammed or eavesdropped by malicious agents, thus significantly mitigating privacy and security-related concerns. Furthermore, UsWB™ communications lead to minimal heat absorption by human tissues, and result in lower energy consumption than RF and therefore in longer lifetime for the implant and potentially smaller form factor.

This technology in a product form will be a single-chip solution that implements the UsWB™ technology specifications as an add-on to provide ultrasonic connectivity for implantable devices. The UsWB™ chip offers flexible interfaces for seamless integration into various systems, thus enabling current implant manufacturers to embed UsWB™ in their design.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Rupal Desai
Commercialization Manager
University at Buffalo
Tommaso Melodia
Giuseppe Santagati
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