‘Wireless’ humans could form backbone of new mobile networks

A new project based on the ‘rapidly developing science of body centric communications’ is being carried out by engineers from Queen’s University Belfast’s, Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), and has been featured in the February 2011 edition of High Frequency Electronics (on pg. 16).

The researchers at ECIT are investigating how small sensors carried by members of the public, in items such as smartphones, could communicate with each other to create potentially vast body-to-body networks (BBNs). The university’s press release (scroll about half way down the page for it) states that, “social benefits from the work could include vast improvements in mobile gaming and remote healthcare…”.

In so far as the technology relates to health monitoring: data from Wireless Bodily Area Networks (WBANs) (i.e. sensors placed in contact with the skin sending health data to a nearby central controller) will be routed from person to person with each not knowing or needing to be involved unless the call is to them.

Or as the Wireless Communications Research Group’s homepage explains; people will become ‘an important part of a novel, ubiquitous wireless networking paradigm, where they are seamlessly connected to network infrastructure through interaction with nearby wireless devices embedded in local surroundings and other bodyworn devices mounted on persons in the immediate vicinity.’

So each body basically acts as a cell tower and relays the data to the desired recipient. Interesting stuff indeed…. and certainly lots of implications for the future of healthcare.

Thanks to R.Johnson from TASK Community Care for the heads up on this item.

About Toni Bunting

Toni joined Ireland’s longest established telecare company, TASK Community Care in 2009, and is responsible for operations and business development in its Northern Ireland division. Having originally planned for a career in the legal profession, she gained her Bachelor of Laws degree in 2004, and subsequently completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law of England and Wales. Toni also holds a Master’s Degree in Management & Corporate Governance and has carried out various legal research/publications work for the Law Centre (NI) on a voluntary basis, with a focus on Community Care Law.
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