We are no longer surprised by the latest prostheses capable of precise movements, and medical implants, pacemakers and defibrillators, mainly. However, more recently the idea of a wireless communication (such as Bluetooth), based on the human body.
Stunning forecast recently issued specialists of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queen's University Belfast (UK): a body of people can be the basis of future communications networks through multiple wearable sensors. A team of researchers led by Simon Cotton, which is developing a high-speed wireless networks of the future generation, believes that the human body is perfect for the role of receiving and transmitting stations and can be the basis for wireless networks.
"These networks" from body to body "have a lot of advantages, — says Dr. Simon — and they can significantly reduce the cost for the construction of a set of expensive base stations as well as on health care. Earlier, people send data over the wire, and then learned to communicate through the air, and now the human body becomes the medium of data transmission. "
This optimistic forecast was made after an interesting experiment, conducted by researchers from the University of Korea in Seoul. It happened in the spring of this year. Recall that if a group of researchers led by Dr. Lee Sang-Hoon transfers data at 10 megabits per second through a person's hand between two electrodes placed in the skin at a distance of 30 centimeters.
Why, as a medium for "wireless" were chosen human covers? According to many experts, the low-frequency electromagnetic waves pass through skin with only a slight weakening, especially its well protected "network" from the elements. Therefore, as an "information" is used similar types of waves (as you know, in these wireless networks is mainly used radio microwave.)
"If we used for each broadcast the measured vital signs, then we would need to use a lot of batteries for each sensor — explained study leader Lee Sang-hoon. — Broadband in the skin would reduce the demand for energy and, consequently, in the sources of supply by about 90 percent. "
In the experiment, Dr. Li and colleagues used a fairly harmless to skin metal electrodes coated with a flexible polymer-enriched silicon. They asked for volunteers to wear an electrode on the shoulder or behind the ear for a week and made sure that this option is really safe for the body.
Additional tests were performed cytotoxicity (that is, of whether the cells were poisoned substances electrode surface or not), using cultured human cells. It turned out that there was no toxic effect on epithelial cells device does not have.
No scuffs and heavy feeling this device also does not cause as its thickness is 300 microns, as three human hairs, and it weighs about the same. In addition, the device can withstand bending test at 90 degrees for about 700,000 times.
What data failed to transmit to skin a wireless network? This was the information about the pulse of the human heart. However, the Korean biologists believe that the spectrum of transmitted data can be much wider. Over time, they say, so you can send every second report on the state of human organs. This is particularly important for patients suffering from diseases of the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, as in violation of the functioning of these bodies need constant monitoring of their condition, and the traditional ways it is difficult to carry out.
"The new version might even implanted under the skin for a more long-term and deep monitoring of various indicators of health of the body, such as electrocardiography (ECG) or electroencephalography (EEG)," — describes the development prospects of this technique Dr. Lee. From his point of view, in the future, each doctor can monitor the health of the patient, being away from a distance. And this will help him "solid" wireless network.
But how can we transfer the information from the body to the display, which is in the doctor's office. For here the low-frequency electromagnetic waves will be very inefficient. But Simon Cotton proposes a scheme of combining the two technologies of wireless networks. According to his theory, the human skin is placed receiver that collects information from all the "physical" sensors on the skin. This receiver will be connected to microtransmitter running on conventional microwave radio waves. It was he who will liaise between the patient and the doctor.
In addition, on the same principle can also "connect" the two men to each other. It is possible that this will be true for parents who are concerned about the health of her child, was at the time away from him. The truth is not quite clear whether it wants the child …