Custom Search

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

IEEE 802.15.6 - Body Area Network Working Group Launch

During my off days, this may be the biggest news to WSN world. I've seen many news or comments regarding this event, the attached one is the most pertinent. As 2.4GHz does not work through body, so it has to be sub 1GHz. I kind of believe there is typo in the article, as it mentions sub 1 MHz. How big the device has to be and how can it saves power?

Would be interesting to see the impact to the industry, Bluetooth ULP and Continua Health Alliance. Will this move stop many efforts on proprietary solutions?

IEEE launches new working group for Body Area Network tech

By David Chartier | Published: December 06, 2007 - 12:25PM CT

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) this week approved the formation of a working group for IEEE 802.15.6. Otherwise known as a "body area network" (BAN), 802.15.6 is a low-frequency technology intended to endow a future generation of short-range electronics—both in body and on or around it—with a wireless communication standard for exchanging information. How far into the future this standard and any electronics that utilize it will arrive, however, is anyone's guess; presently, there is no official timeline for ironing out the standard.

A good real-world example of this technology in practice is a pacemaker that can alert or be controlled by a wristwatch. Of course, the military is also considering this technology's advantages, as BAN's short-range design will ideally reduce the chances of interference and eavesdropping. The need for security is also prevalent, given the sensitive nature of some of BAN's theoretical implementations.

Compared to other short-range wireless technologies already on the market, such as Bluetooth, 802.15.6 and its BAN system appear to focus on functioning at relatively low frequencies, less than one megahertz, and short range use. By comparison, Bluetooth's journey to 2.0 and beyond has generally brought longer ranges, slightly more power consumption and greater data bandwidths.

An IBM white paper offers a number of case studies for 802.15.6's eventual place in the world, such as shoe inserts that can exchange business cards once two wearers are within proximity of each other. BAN's low frequency and short-range operation makes this an ideal use, as shoes are harder to steal than, say, a mobile phone or wallet, and people typically don't toss their business card halfway across a conference room.

As the new 802.15.6 group gets to work on this new technology, we will no doubt see more theoretical situations make a case for whether it gets voted off the technology island.

No comments:

Post a Comment