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Implant Communications in Body Area Networks


What is a BAN?

A Body Area Network (BAN) is a conceptual term for a network technology targeted for use in or around the human body. Two competing applications driving this development are medical applications (e.g. implants) and entertainment.


What are the issues with BANs?

Today there are no standards for short range, wireless communication to/from an implant (or a sensor) located inside (or on the surface) of a human body. Developing such communication protocols is a difficult task since there are currently no models/data available to characterize the propagation from implanted devices. As physical experiments are nearly impossible, intricate simulation models are the only option to study this problem. Also, RF coexistence and interoperability of such body area sensors with other wireless technologies need to be thoroughly evaluated to determine their effectiveness for practical applications.

What are we doing to address these issues?

NIST staff is facilitating the development of standards for Body Area Networks and contributing to the efforts of the IEEE 802.15.6. Our efforts include: Building a 3D immersive visualization platform to observe RF propagation from implant devices and investigating appropriate 3D data visualization schemes for various RF-related quantities. Obtaining path loss versus distance information between an implant and a body-surface node or between two implants. Investigating the possibility of driving a statistical channel model for Medical Implant Communications Service (MICS) operation and incorporate the results into the channel modeling standard document (IEEE802.15.6). Studying coexistence/ interoperability issues with other wireless systems/technologies.

Major Accomplishments:

A propagation model for implant to implant devices and implant to on-body devices was provided to IEEE 802.15.6 BAN working group (as Contribution 15-08-0519-01-0006 a statistical path loss model for MICS.) A 3-D immersive & visualization platform was developed to display signal propagation behavior.

End Date:


Lead Organizational Unit:



IEEE 802.15.6


Kamran Sayrafian-Pour

Wen-Bin Yang

Related Programs and Projects:

In the past we examined the various (then current) wireless networking technologies and evaluated their ability to satisfy the medical devices' applications' requirements. (See past project)


Wen-Bin Yang
301-975-4314 Telephone
301-975-6238 Facsimile
100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8920
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8920