Overview
Research
♦ Architectural Analysis
♦ Software Trace Compression
♦ Software Integrity
♦ Secure Embedded Systems
♦ WBANs for Health Monitoring
♦ mHealth
♦ mTrace
♦ NVMs
Publications
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Miscellaneous

Wireless Body Area Networks for Health Monitoring

Recent technological advances in sensors, low-power microelectronics and miniaturization, and wireless networking enabled the design and proliferation of wireless sensor networks capable of autonomously monitoring and controlling environments. One of the most promising applications of sensor networks is for human health monitoring.  A number of tiny wireless sensors, strategically placed on the human body, create a wireless body area network that can monitor various vital signs, providing real-time feedback to the user and medical personnel.  The wireless body area networks promise to revolutionize healthcare services and address the imminent crisis in healthcare systems due to current demographic and economic trends.
In collaboration with Dr. Emil Jovanov, we pioneered the concept of wireless body area networks (WBANs) and designed one of the first academic prototypes (see below). We have been working on a number of projects related to wireless body area networks since 2003. These projects span across multiple system layers, including hardware development of wireless sensors, software development for sensor nodes (sampling, processing, communication); network protocols and optimization; security in WBANs; software development for PDAs/smartphones and personal computers; higher-level data integration and representation; and system support for healthcare services.  We have developed several generations of research prototypes and continue to seek for new techniques that will further improve reliability, functionality, and cost-effectiveness of these systems, as well as user compliance and comfort. Example projects are development of algorithms for step detection on accelerometer-based motion sensors (extremely resource-constrained systems), development algorithms for assessment of user's activity using a minimum subset of motion sensors, and development of algorithms for on-sensor real-time detection of arrhythmias. We are always looking for smart individuals that are ready to give their best ideas and skills in shaping this emerging field.

 

The first figure below illustrates our concept of wireless body area networks for health monitoring and appeared in our paper "A Wireless Body Area Network of Intelligent Motion Sensors for Computer Assisted Physical Rehabilitation," published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. This paper is the most read paper in this journal of all time (Click here for the rankings). The paper "Wireless sensor networks for personal health monitoring: Issues and an implementation" published in Computer Communication journal discusses system issues and opportunities. It was consistently ranked among Top 25 Hottest articles in Computer Communications journal. The figure in the middle shows signals collected on our early prototype from an ECG sensor and an accelerometer-based motion sensor; the signals are augmented  with events (detected on sensors) and corresponding TinyOS messages (it was me walking with the ECG sensor and a motion sensor on my knee). The last picture shows our early prototype from 2004. 

 

Wireless Body Area Network for Health Monitoring

 

 

Signals from WBAN prototype

 

UAHuntsville WBAN Prototype

Relevant articles:

WBAN Systems and Applications:  [JNER'05]

WBAN System Architecture: [COMPCOMM'06] [JMM'06]

Sensors, Hardware, Processing: [ACM.SE'05] [IEEE.EMBS'05b] [IEEE.EMBS'04]

Time Synchronization: [IEEE.SSST'05a]

Security and Interoperability: [IEEE.EMSB'05a]

Power Measurements & Optimizations: [IEEE.SSST'b]

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 301 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899