Body Area Network — Connecting and Powering Things Together Around the Human Body

Body Area Network (BAN) is an attractive means for continuous and pervasive health monitoring, yet its unique and harsh environment gives circuit designers many challenges. As the human body absorbs the majority of RF energy around the GHz band, existing RF radio may not be ideal for communications between and on-body sensors. To solve the issues, this talk presents the Human Body Communication (HBC), also known as Body Coupled Communication (BCC) for BAN applications. BCC BAN utilizes the human body itself as a communication medium, which has orders of magnitude less pathloss when compared to RF-based BAN on/around the human body. We will explore the channel characteristics and transceiver design considerations with implementation examples. We will also discuss what circuit designers should consider in such non-conventional environments. Lastly, various system aspects as well as future directions of the HBC/BCC will be covered, including powering up the wearables using the body-coupled powering/energy harvesting.