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Special Issue "Internet of Wearable and Implantable Medical Things: Theory and Applications"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2018) | Viewed by 33871

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kaushik Roy Chowdhury
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
308 Dana Research Center, 360 Huntington Ave., Northeastern University, Boston MA 02115, USA
Interests: Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) networks; energy harvesting sensors and IoT; implantable sensor networks
Dr. Meenupriya Swaminathan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Interests: wireless cyber physical intra-body network; galvanic coupled intra-body network; electromagnetic modeling and behavior analysis of human tissue
Dr. Anna Vizziello
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Pavia, Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, Pavia, Italy
Interests: intrabody sensor networks; wireless sensor networks; 5G radio technologies; cognitive radio networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Body-worn and implanted medical sensors and actuators will revolutionize the next generation healthcare in the form of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Connected networks of body devices would enable in-situ monitoring of physiological conditions, need neuro-muscular stimulation and localized precision medicine. These body devices need to communicate sensed measurements, drug volumes and actuating directives, not only to an external monitoring station, but also among peer body devices, both on the surface of the body and embedded as implants, by exploiting the wireless communication platforms appropriate for IoMT. This emerging paradigm requires revisiting the classical modes of over-the-air RF communication, as the body channel is a very different medium. Specifically, through-tissue intra-body communication requires energy-efficient hardware, protocols, algorithms and applications and has to be strictly within safety and reliability bounds. The signals used for such communication may be diverse: RF signals in the kilohertz band (e.g., baseband transmission using galvanic coupling (GC)), megahertz band (e.g., baseband transmission using capacitive coupling (CC), Medical Implants Communication Systems (MICS), Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS)), gigahertz band (e.g., Ultra-Wide Band), and terahertz band, or non-RF signals such as ultrasound (US), Inductive Coupling (IC), molecular communication, and optical technology.

The technology transformation from the air medium to tissue medium has to address numerous challenges, including energy replenishment for a system operating at the highest levels of reliability with ultra-small energy constrained hard to reach devices, channel estimation of the tissue medium with complex structure and temporal electrical behavior, energy efficient resource allocation, long-term impacts of continuous signal propagation, communication demands including modulation and medium access techniques to ensure extremely low latency, communication security and body-friendly network topology, among others.

This Special Issue on IoMT is envisaged to showcase emerging technologies for wireless communication in and on the body, resulting in new healthcare applications that can be lifesaving or can significantly improve the quality of life. Envisioned applications include, but are not limited to, remote monitoring of intra-organ functions, continuous assessment of ailments, biomedical therapy, remote surgery, post-operative rehabilitation, biometric authentication, and many more. This Special Issue will highlight the enabling wireless communication technologies, architectures, system design demonstration and development, testbeds, empirical analyses, as well as simulations that support the body network objectives. Emphasis will be on breakthrough research in device/network co-design solutions that efficiently integrate medical things, cyber-physical-biological capabilities, computing, body channel and intra-body as well as extra-body communication systems that necessarily go beyond classical and well explored over-the-air RF communication. Technical contributions that exploit context awareness at body level, activity level, ambient environment level and application level to dramatically improve the communication performance across multiple wireless networking parameters and dimensions are also encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Kaushik Roy Chowdhury
Dr. Anna Vizziello
Dr. Meenpriya Swaminathan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • design of communication front-ends for body-worn and implanted devices
  • sensors and actuator operational optimization, duty cycling, power control
  • wireless communication for medical applications
  • body tissue channel modeling
  • intrabody network of implants
  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) with non-classical RF transmissions
  • physical layer for emerging body communication technologies
  • protocols for body area wireless networking
  • health data management and actuation
  • healthcare applications with implants and wearables
  • biomedical therapy using communications infrastructure
  • wireless security and authentication using biometrics
  • cyber physical biological systems
  • energy efficient solutions for healthcare

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Smart Vest for Respiratory Rate Monitoring of COPD Patients Based on Non-Contact Capacitive Sensing
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072144 - 03 Jul 2018
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 6071
Abstract
In this paper, a first approach to the design of a portable device for non-contact monitoring of respiratory rate by capacitive sensing is presented. The sensing system is integrated into a smart vest for an untethered, low-cost and comfortable breathing monitoring of Chronic [...] Read more.
In this paper, a first approach to the design of a portable device for non-contact monitoring of respiratory rate by capacitive sensing is presented. The sensing system is integrated into a smart vest for an untethered, low-cost and comfortable breathing monitoring of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients during the rest period between respiratory rehabilitation exercises at home. To provide an extensible solution to the remote monitoring using this sensor and other devices, the design and preliminary development of an e-Health platform based on the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) paradigm is also presented. In order to validate the proposed solution, two quasi-experimental studies have been developed, comparing the estimations with respect to the golden standard. In a first study with healthy subjects, the mean value of the respiratory rate error, the standard deviation of the error and the correlation coefficient were 0.01 breaths per minute (bpm), 0.97 bpm and 0.995 (p < 0.00001), respectively. In a second study with COPD patients, the values were −0.14 bpm, 0.28 bpm and 0.9988 (p < 0.0000001), respectively. The results for the rest period show the technical and functional feasibility of the prototype and serve as a preliminary validation of the device for respiratory rate monitoring of patients with COPD. Full article
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Article
Non-Invasive Electromagnetic Skin Patch Sensor to Measure Intracranial Fluid–Volume Shifts
Sensors 2018, 18(4), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18041022 - 29 Mar 2018
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 7644
Abstract
Elevated intracranial fluid volume can drive intracranial pressure increases, which can potentially result in numerous neurological complications or death. This study’s focus was to develop a passive skin patch sensor for the head that would non-invasively measure cranial fluid volume shifts. The sensor [...] Read more.
Elevated intracranial fluid volume can drive intracranial pressure increases, which can potentially result in numerous neurological complications or death. This study’s focus was to develop a passive skin patch sensor for the head that would non-invasively measure cranial fluid volume shifts. The sensor consists of a single baseline component configured into a rectangular planar spiral with a self-resonant frequency response when impinged upon by external radio frequency sweeps. Fluid volume changes (10 mL increments) were detected through cranial bone using the sensor on a dry human skull model. Preliminary human tests utilized two sensors to determine feasibility of detecting fluid volume shifts in the complex environment of the human body. The correlation between fluid volume changes and shifts in the first resonance frequency using the dry human skull was classified as a second order polynomial with R2 = 0.97. During preliminary and secondary human tests, a ≈24 MHz and an average of ≈45.07 MHz shifts in the principal resonant frequency were measured respectively, corresponding to the induced cephalad bio-fluid shifts. This electromagnetic resonant sensor may provide a non-invasive method to monitor shifts in fluid volume and assist with medical scenarios including stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, concussion, or monitoring intracranial pressure. Full article
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Article
Measurements by A LEAP-Based Virtual Glove for the Hand Rehabilitation
Sensors 2018, 18(3), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030834 - 10 Mar 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4166
Abstract
Hand rehabilitation is fundamental after stroke or surgery. Traditional rehabilitation requires a therapist and implies high costs, stress for the patient, and subjective evaluation of the therapy effectiveness. Alternative approaches, based on mechanical and tracking-based gloves, can be really effective when used in [...] Read more.
Hand rehabilitation is fundamental after stroke or surgery. Traditional rehabilitation requires a therapist and implies high costs, stress for the patient, and subjective evaluation of the therapy effectiveness. Alternative approaches, based on mechanical and tracking-based gloves, can be really effective when used in virtual reality (VR) environments. Mechanical devices are often expensive, cumbersome, patient specific and hand specific, while tracking-based devices are not affected by these limitations but, especially if based on a single tracking sensor, could suffer from occlusions. In this paper, the implementation of a multi-sensors approach, the Virtual Glove (VG), based on the simultaneous use of two orthogonal LEAP motion controllers, is described. The VG is calibrated and static positioning measurements are compared with those collected with an accurate spatial positioning system. The positioning error is lower than 6 mm in a cylindrical region of interest of radius 10 cm and height 21 cm. Real-time hand tracking measurements are also performed, analysed and reported. Hand tracking measurements show that VG operated in real-time (60 fps), reduced occlusions, and managed two LEAP sensors correctly, without any temporal and spatial discontinuity when skipping from one sensor to the other. A video demonstrating the good performance of VG is also collected and presented in the Supplementary Materials. Results are promising but further work must be done to allow the calculation of the forces exerted by each finger when constrained by mechanical tools (e.g., peg-boards) and for reducing occlusions when grasping these tools. Although the VG is proposed for rehabilitation purposes, it could also be used for tele-operation of tools and robots, and for other VR applications. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Propagation Characteristics Using the Human Body as an Antenna
Sensors 2017, 17(12), 2878; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17122878 - 11 Dec 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4127
Abstract
In this paper, an inhomogeneous human body model was presented to investigate the propagation characteristics when the human body was used as an antenna to achieve signal transmission. Specifically, the channel gain of four scenarios, namely, (1) both TX electrode and RX electrode [...] Read more.
In this paper, an inhomogeneous human body model was presented to investigate the propagation characteristics when the human body was used as an antenna to achieve signal transmission. Specifically, the channel gain of four scenarios, namely, (1) both TX electrode and RX electrode were placed in the air, (2) TX electrode was attached on the human body, and RX electrode was placed in the air, (3) TX electrode was placed in the air, and RX electrode was attached on the human body, (4) both the TX electrode and RX electrode were attached on the human body, were studied through numerical simulation in the frequency range 1 MHz to 90 MHz. Furthermore, the comparisons of input efficiency, accepted efficiency, total efficiency, absorption power of human body, and electric field distribution of different distances of four aforementioned scenarios were explored when the frequency was at 44 MHz. In addition, the influences of different human tissues, electrode position, and the distance between electrode and human body on the propagation characteristics were investigated respectively at 44 MHz. The results showed that the channel gain of Scenario 4 was the maximum when the frequency was from 1 MHz to 90 MHz. The propagation characteristics were almost independent of electrode position when the human body was using as an antenna. However, as the distance between TX electrode and human body increased, the channel gain decreased rapidly. The simulations were verified by experimental measurements. The results showed that the simulations were in agreement with the measurements. Full article
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Article
A Study about Kalman Filters Applied to Embedded Sensors
Sensors 2017, 17(12), 2810; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17122810 - 05 Dec 2017
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 4788
Abstract
Over the last decade, smart sensors have grown in complexity and can now handle multiple measurement sources. This work establishes a methodology to achieve better estimates of physical values by processing raw measurements within a sensor using multi-physical models and Kalman filters for [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, smart sensors have grown in complexity and can now handle multiple measurement sources. This work establishes a methodology to achieve better estimates of physical values by processing raw measurements within a sensor using multi-physical models and Kalman filters for data fusion. A driving constraint being production cost and power consumption, this methodology focuses on algorithmic complexity while meeting real-time constraints and improving both precision and reliability despite low power processors limitations. Consequently, processing time available for other tasks is maximized. The known problem of estimating a 2D orientation using an inertial measurement unit with automatic gyroscope bias compensation will be used to illustrate the proposed methodology applied to a low power STM32L053 microcontroller. This application shows promising results with a processing time of 1.18 ms at 32 MHz with a 3.8% CPU usage due to the computation at a 26 Hz measurement and estimation rate. Full article
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Article
An Energy Efficient Technique Using Electric Active Shielding for Capacitive Coupling Intra-Body Communication
Sensors 2017, 17(9), 2056; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17092056 - 08 Sep 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 6287
Abstract
Capacitive coupling intra-body communication (CC-IBC) has become one of the candidates for healthcare sensor networks due to its positive prevailing features of energy efficiency, transmission rate and security. Under the CC-IBC scheme, some of the electric field emitted from signal (SIG) electrode of [...] Read more.
Capacitive coupling intra-body communication (CC-IBC) has become one of the candidates for healthcare sensor networks due to its positive prevailing features of energy efficiency, transmission rate and security. Under the CC-IBC scheme, some of the electric field emitted from signal (SIG) electrode of the transmitter will couple directly to the ground (GND) electrode, acting equivalently as an internal impedance of the signal source and inducing considerable energy losses. However, none of the previous works have fully studied the problem. In this paper, the underlying theory of such energy loss is investigated and quantitatively evaluated using conventional parameters. Accordingly, a method of electric active shielding is proposed to reduce the displacement current across the SIG-GND electrodes, leading to less power loss. In addition, the variation of such loss in regard to frequency range and positions on human body was also considered. The theory was validated by finite element method simulation and experimental measurement. The prototype result shows that the receiving power has been improved by approximate 5.5 dBm while the total power consumption is maximally 9 mW less using the proposed technique, providing an energy efficient option in physical layer for wearable and implantable healthcare sensor networks. Full article
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