22 March 2011

Smart wireless microsystems may enable implanted body area networks

A European consortium, developing innovative ultra miniature rf Microsystems for wireless Body Area Networks (BAN), aims to produce wearable and implanted devices for healthcare and biomedical applications.

The EC funded WiserBAN project is being led by CSEM, a private research and development centre specialising in microtechnology, nanotechnology, microelectronics, system engineering and communications technologies. The project will primarily focus on wearable and implantable use cases such as hearing instruments, cardiac implants, insulin pumps and cochlear implants.

Currently, only limited wireless connectivity and autonomy can be achieved in these applications because of the excessive size and power consumption needed by wireless devices. WiserBAN aims to research wireless microsystem technology and deliver an ultra tiny and ultra low energy radio.

The research plan concerns the extreme miniaturisation of BAN devices and will focus on the areas of ultra low power MEMS based radio SoC, rf and low frequency MEMS and miniature components. It will also target miniature reconfigurable antennas, miniaturised and cost effective SiP, sensor signal processing and flexible communication protocols.

According to CSEM, the project will also enable 'major technological breakthroughs' in the BAN area. Plans are underway to develop highly integrated 'radio & antenna & data processing' microsystems which CSEM claims will 'significantly' reduce the barriers in terms of size and power consumption of existing wireless solutions.

Chris Shaw

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