Chapter 1

Introduction to Body Area Communications

The ever-advancing miniaturization and low-power consumption of electronic devices, combined with recent developments in wireless communication, is leading to a rapidly increasing demand for wireless communications in the human body area. In a scenario of human body area communications, various communication devices may locate on, in or near the human body to form a wireless link or a small-scaled network to share data, reduce functional redundancies, and allow for new services. As an emerging communication technique, it is especially expected to be useful in medical, healthcare and consumer electronics applications. It may provide new possibilities in high-quality medical and healthcare services by linking various on/in-body vital sensors to establish a body area network (BAN) of personal health information. It may also allow high convenience and security in consumer electronics and user identification systems.

1.1 Definition

Body area communications is a short range wireless communication technique in the vicinity of, or inside, a human body. Differing from other short range communication systems such as Bluetooth and Zigbee, it focuses on communications just in the human body area, that is, the immediate environment around the human body which only includes the nearest objects that may be one part of the body.

As a most promising scenario for body area communications, BAN is attracting much attention especially for medical ...

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