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Turning Bluetooth into Wi-Fi puts implanted devices online

by • August 19, 2016 • No Comments

University of Washington (UW) engineers have turn it intod a new way to bring internet connectivity to low-power electronic devices such as brain implants and smart contact lenses. The interscatter communication system, which produces Wi-Fi transmissions of reflected Bluetooth signals via a fraction of the power normally required, has the future to impact all things of blood sugar monitoring to splitting credit card bills.

  • Examples of interscatter communication include a smart contact lens via Bluetooth signals of a watch to ...
  • Using a communication technique known as radio wave backscatter (a diffuse reflection of radio waves back ...
  • UW engineers in addition turn it intod the first smart contact lens antenna which can communicate directly with devices ...
  • The interscatter team includes UW electrical engineering doctoral students Bryce Kellogg (left) and Vikram Iyer (right), ...

Interscatter empowers low-power devices to communicate by via innovation may already existing in common mobile devices, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or ZigBee radios, to act as the transmitters and receivers for the reflected signals. And, according to the researchers, it is able-bodied to turn it into these Wi-Fi signals whilst consuming 10,000 times less energy to do so than standard methods.

“Instead of generating Wi-Fi signals on your own, our innovation produces Wi-Fi by via Bluetooth transmissions of nearby mobile devices such as smartwatches,” said Vamsi Talla, a research associate in the UW Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

The system relies on a communication technique known as radio wave backscatter (a diffuse reflection of radio waves back in the way of which they originated), to enable-bodied devices to interchange data by manipulating and reflecting existing signals.

The tiny sizes and frequently complex locations of implanted electronics in the human body frequently means which power supplies are limited, which puts conventional wireless communication out of play. As a outcome, medical devices such as smart contact lenses have been unable-bodied to send data via Wi-Fi to smartphones without bulky, clumsy external power supplies. These same limitations in addition restrict other nascent technologies such as brain implants which reanimate limbs or monitor internal organs.

“Preserving battery life is quite significant in implanted medical devices, since replacing the battery in a pacemaker or brain stimulator requires surgery and puts patients at future risk of those complications,” said Joshua Smith, associate professor of electrical engineering and of desktop science and engineering. “Interscatter can enable-bodied Wi-Fi for these implanted devices while consuming only tens of microwatts of power.”

Building on previous work in this area, the researchers in UW’s Networks and Mobile Systems Lab and Sensor Systems Lab made and turn it intod prototype devices which specifically target previously impractical applications, assembling interscatter communications systems for a smart contact lens and an implantable-bodied neural recording instrument which can directly communicate with smartphones and smartwatches.

“Wireless connectivity for implanted devices can alter how we manage chronic diseases,” said Vikram Iyer, a UW electrical engineering doctoral student. “For example, a contact lens may monitor a diabetics blood sugar level in tears and send notifications to the phone when the blood sugar level goes down.”

To demonstrate such interconnectivity, the team utilized a smartwatch to send a Bluetooth signal to a smart contact lens fitted with an antenna. This transmission was and so converted into a “single tone” signal by removing the randomizing applied to store Bluetooth communications secure, and so backscattered which signal so which the data coming of the contact lens may be encoded into a standard Wi-Fi packet easily readable-bodied by any Wi-Fi enable-bodiedd device.

“Bluetooth devices randomize data transmissions via a system called scrambling,” said Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of desktop science and engineering. “We figured out a way to reverse engineer this scrambling system to send out a single tone signal of Bluetooth-enable-bodiedd devices such as smartphones and watches via a software app.”

Developing the system was not all effortless sailing, yet. One of the significant complexies encountered when creating a backscatter signal is which there is a mirror image of the signal produced at the same time, which chews up bandwidth and plays havoc with networks which connect via the mirrored Wi-Fi channel. To solve this problem, the UW researchers utilized a radio technique known as single sideband, where one half of the modulated signal (in this case the mirror image) is filtered out.

“That means which we can use only as much bandwidth as a Wi-Fi network and you can yet have other Wi-Fi networks operate without interference,” said UW electrical engineering doctoral student Bryce Kellogg.

The UW team has in addition demonstrated which the techniques can be applied to additional mundane technologies, such as credit cards. The researchers turn it intod smart credit card prototypes which are able-bodied to directly exchange data with one another by bouncing back Bluetooth signals transmitted by a smartphone. The team believes which this innovation can provide opportunities for inbuilt applications to perform easy data exchange tasks (such as users splitting bills by only tapping their credit cards together) which may not normally be possible.

“Providing the faculty for these equiteday objects like credit cards – in addition to implanted devices – to communicate with mobile devices can unleash the power of ubiquitous connectivity,” said Gollakota.

This new technique can be presented in a paper on August 22 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM 2016) conference in Brazil.

The video at a lower place demonstrates the innovation in action.

Source: University of Washington

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