The Internet of Bodies: The Human Body as an Efficient and Secure Wireless Channel

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The Internet of Bodies (IoB) is a network of smart objects placed in, on, and around the human body, allowing for intra- and inter-body communications. This position article aims to provide a glimpse into the opportunities created by implantable, injectable, ingestible, and wearable IoB devices. The article starts with a thorough discussion of application-specific design goals, technical challenges, and enabling communication standards. We discuss why the highly radiative nature of radio frequency (RF) systems results in inefficient communication due to over-ex-tended coverage, causing interference and becoming susceptible to eavesdropping. Alternatively, body channel communication (BCC) uses the human body as a transmission medium by coupling harmless electrical signals, yielding secure and efficient communication thanks to better channel conditions and lower signal leakage than over-the-air RF systems. Numerical results show that various BCC topologies can respectively reach 8–12 Mb/s and 1.5-3 Mb/s max-sum and max-min rates with 1 MHz bandwidth and -30 dBm transmission power, which is three orders of magnitude lower than safety limits. Moreover, the BCC is capable of accommodating tens of IoB nodes up to 1 Mb/s rates, which is sufficient for most IoB applications. Furthermore, as the cyber and biological worlds meet, security risks and privacy concerns take center stage, leading to a discussion of multi-faceted legal, societal, ethical, and political issues related to technology governance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Magazine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-11-15
Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support for this work from the KAUST, Thuwal, KSA and the Smart Health Initiative (SHI) at KAUST


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