Body Area Networks

  • Sergio González-Valenzuela
  • Xuedong Liang
  • Huasong Cao
  • Min Chen
  • Victor C. M. Leung
Part of the Springer Series on Chemical Sensors and Biosensors book series (SSSENSORS, volume 13)


Body area network (BAN) technology has emerged in recent years as a subcategory of wireless sensor network technology targeted at monitoring physiological and ambient conditions surrounding human beings and animals. However, BAN technology also introduces a number of challenges seldom seen before due to the scarcity of hardware and radio communication resources and the special properties of the radio environment under which they operate. In this chapter, we review the foundations of BANs along with the most relevant aspects relating to their design and deployment. We introduce current, state-of-the-art applications of BAN, as well as the most challenging aspects concerning their adoption and gradual deployment. We also discuss issues pertaining to sensor node communications, trade-offs, and interfacing with external infrastructure, in addition to important aspects relating to wearable sensor technology, enabling software and hardware, as well as future trends and open research issues in BANs.


Health care Networks Sensors Wireless 



Body area network








Microcontroller unit


Microelectromechanical systems


Wireless sensor network



This work was supported in part by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of the Canadian Government under grant STPGP 365208-08, and by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea, under the Information Technology Research Center support program supervised by the NIPA National IT Industry Promotion Agency, NIPA-2010-(C1090-1011-0004).


  1. 1.
    González-Valenzuela S, Chen M, Leung VCM (2011) Mobility support for health monitoring at home using wearable sensors. IEEE T Inf Technol B 15(4):539–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Milenkovic A, Otto C, Jovanov E (2006) Wireless sensor networks for personal health monitoring: issues and an implementation. Comput Commun 29(13–14):2521–2533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Malan D, Fulford-Jones T, Welsh M, Moulton S (2004) CodeBlue: an ad hoc sensor network infrastructure for emergency medical care. In: Proceedings of the workshop on applications of mobile embedded systems (WAMES), Boston, 6 June 2004Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gao T, Massey T, Selavo L, Crawford D, Chen B, Lorincz K, Shnayder V, Hauenstein L, Dabiri F, Jeng J, Chanmugam A, White D, Sarrafzadeh M, Welsh M (2007) The advanced health and disaster aid network: a light-weight wireless medical system for triage. IEEE Trans Biomed Circ Syst 1(3):203–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ruiz JA, Shimamoto S (2006) Novel communication services based on human body and environment interaction: applications inside trains and applications for handicapped people. In: Proceedings of the IEEE wireless communications and networking conference (WCNC), Las Vegas, 3–6 April 2006, pp 2240–2245Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pentland S (2004) Healthwear: medical technology becomes wearable. IEEE Comput 37(5):42–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jantunen I et al (2004) Smart sensor architecture for mobile-terminal-centric ambient intelligence. Sens Actuators A Phys 142(1):352–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Farella E, Pieracci A, Benini L, Rochi L, Acquaviva A (2008) Interfacing human and computer with wireless body area sensor networks: the WiMoCA solution. Multimed Tools Appl 38(3):337–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    ZigBee Specification, ZigBee Alliance (2007), Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  10. 10.
    IEEE Standard 802, Part 15.4: Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications for low-rate wireless personal area networks (WPANs), IEEE Std 802.15.4d™-2009, IEEE Computer Society, 17 April 2009. Available (2012):
  11. 11.
    Bluetooth Low Energy Specification, Bluetooth Special Interest Group., Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  12. 12.
    ANT+ communications protocol for wireless sensor networks., Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  13. 13.
    Sensium low power hardware platform for health monitoring., Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  14. 14.
    Zarlink semiconductor., Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  15. 15.
    Lo G, Suresh A, Gonzalez-Valenzuela S, Stocco L, Leung VCM (2011) A wireless sensor system for motion analysis of Parkinson’s disease patients. In: Proceedings of the IEEE PerCom, Seattle, March 2011Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cao H, Li H, Stocco L, Leung VCM (2011) Wireless three-pad ECG system: challenges, design and evaluations. J Commun Netw 13(2):113–124Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bashir R (2004) BioMEMS: state-of-the-art in detection, opportunities and prospects. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 56(11):1565–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Alexander A, Rogers L, Sheehan D, Willson B (2010) BioMEMS implantable drug delivery systems. In: Proceedings of the 4th IEEE international conference on nanomicro engineered and molecular systems, Shenzhen, 20–23 January 2010Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cao H, Li H, Stocco L, Leung VCM (2010) Design and evaluation of a novel wireless three-pad ECG system for generating conventional 12-lead signals. In: Proceedings of the BodyNets, Corfu, September 2010Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Postolache O, Girão PM, Pinheiro EC, Postolache G (2010) Unobtrusive and non-invasive sensing solutions for on-line physiological parameters monitoring. In: Lay-Ekuakille A, Mukhopadhyay SC (eds) Wearable and autonomous biomedical devices and systems for smart environment. Springer, Berlin, pp 276–314Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Finni T, Hu M, Kettunen P, Vilavuo T, Cheng S (2007) Measurement of EMG activity with textile electrodes embedded into clothing. Physiol Meas 28(11):1405–1419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bashirullah R (2010) Wireless implants. IEEE Microw Mag 11(7):S14–S23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Accent® Pacemakers by St. Jude Medical., Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  24. 24.
    Ko WH, Liang SP, Fung CD (1977) Design of radio-frequency powered coils for implant instruments. Med Biol Eng Comput 15(6):634–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Soontornpipit P, Furse CM, Chung YC (2004) Design of implantable microstrip antenna for communication with medical implants. IEEE T Microw Theory 52(8):1944–1951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ogirala A, Stachel JR, Mickle MH (2011) Electromagnetic interference of cardiac rhythmic monitoring devices to radio frequency identification: analytical analysis and mitigation methodology. IEEE T Inf Technol B 15(6):848–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jurik AD, Weaver AC (2009) Body sensors: wireless access to physiological data. IEEE Softw 26(1):71–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    González-Valenzuela S, Chen M, Leung VCM (2010) Evaluation of wireless body area sensor placement for mobility support in healthcare monitoring systems. In: Proceedings of the AdhocNets, Victoria, August 2010Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Taparugssanagorn A, Rabbachin A, Hamalainen M, Saloranta J, Iinatti J (2008) A review of channel modelling for wireless body area network in wireless medical communications. In: Proceedings of the 11th international symposium on wireless personal multimedia communications, SaariselkaGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Chen M, Gonzalez S, Vasilakos A, Cao H, Leung V (2011) Body area networks: a survey. ACM/Springer Mobile Netw Appl (MONET) 16(2):171–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Cao H, Leung VCM, Chow C, Chan HCB (2009) Enabling technologies for wireless body area networks: a survey and outlook. IEEE Commun Mag 47(12):84–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Khaleghi A, Chavez-Santiago R, Xuedong Liang, Ilangko Balasingham, Victor CM Leung, Ramstad T (2010) On ultra-wideband channel modeling for in-body communications. In: Proceedings of the 2010 I.E. international symposium on wireless pervasive computing (ISWPC’10), Modena, May 2010, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Khaleghi A, Chavez-Santiago R, Balasingham I (2011) An ultra wideband statistical propagation channel model for implant sensors in the human chest. Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation IET 5(15):1805–1812Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Abouzar P, Shafiee K, Michelson D, Leung VCM (2011) Action-based scheduling technique for 802.15.4/ZigBee wireless body area networks. In: IEEE PIMRC, Toronto, September 2011, pp. 2188–2192Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Torabi N, Wong W, Leung VCM (2011) A robust coexistence scheme for IEEE 802.15.4 wireless personal area networks. In: Proceedings of the IEEE CCNC, Las Vegas, January 2011Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Torabi N, Leung VCM (2011) Robust license-free body area network access for reliable public m-health services. In: Proceedings of the IEEE HealthCom, Columbia, June 2011Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ye W, Heidemann J, Estrin D (2004) Medium access control with coordinated, adaptive sleeping for wireless sensor networks. IEEE ACM T Network 3(12):493–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Dam T, Langendoen K (2003) An adaptive energy-efficient MAC protocol for wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 1st ACM SenSys conference, Los Angeles, November 2003, pp 171–180Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Polastre J, Hill J, Culler D (2004) Versatile low power media access for wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SenSys conference, Baltimore, November 2004, pp 95–107Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hoiydi A, Decotignie J, Enz C, Roux E (2003) WiseMAC: an ultra low power MAC protocol for the wisenet wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 1st ACM SenSys conference, Los Angeles, July 2003Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Rajendran V, Obraczka K, Garcia-Luna-Aceves J (2003) Energy-efficient, collision-free medium access control for wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 1st ACMSenSys conference, Los Angeles, November 2003, pp 181–193Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Heinzelman WR, Chandrakasan A, Balakrishnan H (2000) Energy-efficient communication protocols for wireless microsensor networks. In: Proceedings of the Hawaii international conference on systems science, Maui, January 2000, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Latr B, Braem B, Moerman I, Blondia C, Reusens E, Joseph W, Demeester P (2007) A low-delay protocol for multihop wireless body area networks. In: Proceedings of Mobiquitous, Philadelphia, August 2007Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Li H, Tan J (2005) An ultra-low-powermedium access control protocol for body sensor network. In: Proceedings of IEEE-EMBS, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Li H, Tan J (2007) Heartbeat driven medium access control for body sensor networks. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGMOBILE international workshop on systems and networking support for healthcare and assisted living environments, San Juan, Puerto RicoGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Heinzelman WR, Kulik J, Balakrishnan H (1999) Adaptive protocols for information dissemination in wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of fifth ACM/IEEE MOBICOM conference (MobiCom’99), New York, August 1999, pp 174–185Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Manjeshwar A, Agarwal DP (2001) TEEN: a routing protocol for enhanced efficiency in wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of 15th international parallel and distributed processing symposium, San Francisco, April 2001, pp 2009–2015Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    The TinyOS Website (2011) Available at, Accessed Date: 16/Jul/2012
  49. 49.
    Dunkels A, Grönvall B, Voigt T (2004) Contiki—a lightweight and flexible operating system for tiny networked sensor. In: Proceedings of the 1st IEEE workshop on embedded networked sensors (Emnets-I), Tampa, November 2004Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    The ScatterWeb Website (2011) Available at
  51. 51.
    Bhatti S, Carlson J, Dai H, Deng J, Rose J, Sheth A, Shucker B, Gruenwald C, Torgerson A, Han R (2005) MANTIS OS: an embedded multithreaded operating system for wireless micro sensor platforms. J Mobile Netw Appl 10(4):563–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Gu L, Stankovic JA (2006) t-kernel: providing reliable OS support to wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 4th ACM conference on embedded networked sensor systems (SenSys’06), Boulder, November 2006, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Cao Q, Abdelzaher T, Stankovic J, He T (2008) The LiteOS operating system: towards Unix-like abstractions for wireless sensor networks. In: Proceedings of the 7th international conference on information processing in sensor networks (IPSN ’08), St. Louis, April 2008, pp 233–244Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio González-Valenzuela
    • 1
  • Xuedong Liang
    • 1
  • Huasong Cao
    • 1
  • Min Chen
    • 2
  • Victor C. M. Leung
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Computer Science and TechnologyHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations