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Preface to Special Issue on Wireless Body Area Networks: Based on Bodynets 2018 Conference

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In October 2018, the 13th EAI International Conference on Body Area Networks, BODYNETS 2018, was organized in Oulu, Finland. The conference was a venue for researchers from all around the world to present their latest work on various areas of wireless body area networks (WBAN). Based on the review evaluations, small amount of selected authors were invited to submit extended versions of the papers they presented in the conference to this Special Issue.

Wearable electronics, reliable wireless communications and remote care approach jointly with personal and individualized health management are the future trends modern healthcare is going to. Making this happen, new gadgets, processes and technology are needed to provide trustworthy communications mechanisms starting from data origin (user data) to electrical/medical health databases for final savings. WBANs can be seen as one important element in this whole process. Not only on-body devices, but advanced biocompatible contraptions that could seamlessly provide even in-body information were in focus of BODYNETS 2018. Dependable communications associated with accurate localization information, medical big data and other data management can greatly benefit the use of wearable technology in healthcare practices. The final goal is to make the healthcare processes more effective, reduce the medical professionals’ workload and at the end, minimize the overall healthcare costs.

For this Special Issue, we have selected four articles. The topics cover new view of the future hospital; the use of ultra wideband technology in positioning in sport; on-body antenna designed for communications with capsule endoscope; and finally acoustic-based security solution for WBAN communications.

The first paper on “Wireless Communications for the Hospital of the Future: Requirements, Challenges and Solutions” by Mr. Iqrar Ahmed et.al. is a conceptual presentation of the hospital of the future (HoF). The authors are envisioning which kind of technologies the HoF could utilize. To provide secure and reliable operation environment, the use of optical communications, especially visible light communications (VLC) is highlighted. In addition, in authors’ vision, there is a hybrid solution where radio and optical based wireless systems can work also in the WBAN context.

The second paper on “Ultra-wide Band Positioning in Sport: How the Relative Height Between the Transmitting and the Receiving Antenna Affects the System Performance” by Dr. Alessio Martinelli et.al. is focusing on locating football players in the field. The authors proposed a technology, which utilizes body worn ultra wideband (UWB) transmitters used by the players and static UWB receivers located in the corners of the field. The differences in location accuracies are calculated using different receiver antenna heights.

The third paper on “On-body Cavity-backed Low-UWB Antenna for Capsule Localization” by Ms. Chaïmaâ Kissi, et.al. discusses on low-band UWB on-body antenna characteristics. The antenna under discussion was designed for communications with capsule endoscope, thus directivity towards a body is a key feature. The operation frequency is between 3.75 and 4.24 GHz. The antenna utilizes cavity to get the desired directivity.

The fourth paper on “Acoustic-based Security: a key enabling technology for Wireless Sensor Networks” by Dr. Simone Soderi presents a watermark-based physical layer security protocol (WBPLSec) to be used in WBAN and other short-range applications to improve the communications security. The performance of an acoustic air-gap based WBPLSec protocol is tested in the environment, where each sensor node includes microphone and loudspeaker. It was shown that vital information can be conveyed securely through the studied channel.

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Correspondence to Matti Hämäläinen.

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Hämäläinen, M., Anzai, D., Fortino, G. et al. Preface to Special Issue on Wireless Body Area Networks: Based on Bodynets 2018 Conference. Int J Wireless Inf Networks 27, 1–3 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10776-020-00480-w

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