Reliable and Effective Transdermal Optical Communication System for Crucial Biomedical Applications

In tune with the impressive recent advances in implantable medical devices (IMDs), the progress in optical wireless communications has paved the way toward the development of high-speed transdermal optical wireless (TOW) links for data and power telemetry with medical implants. This research explores how the use of TOW-based communications can be optimized for critical biomedical applications.

Researcher: Dr. Konstantinos Aidinis, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Information Technology

Field of Specialization: Optical Wireless Communications and Wireless Power Transfer for Biomedical Applications

Research Summary

The research demonstrates the possibility of establishing high speed optical wireless communication links of enhanced robustness between an implanted and an out-of-body device. In this context, it proposes appropriate techniques, configurations and architectures in the design of TOW communication systems, which have proven highly efficient in overcoming major limitations and have been instrumental in enhancing the performance and availability of TOW systems.

“Having completed the first part of this research project and having jointly modeled and accurately quantified the major limiting factors in the propagation of the transmitted light through the skin-channel, we are now focusing on the design of novel power-efficient and rechargeable implantable configurations. Results, so far, are encouraging and consistent with our theoretical predictions,” says Dr. Konstantinos Aidinis.

Research Objectives

  • Derivation of an accurate mathematical framework for the analysis and design of transdermal optical wireless links with implantable devices

  • Development of efficient optical wireless techniques and architectures as applied to IMDs

  • Optimizing data telemetry for critical applications with IMDs

  • Creating a sophisticated TOW system which will be able to both communicate with IMD and harvest energy for charging the IMD

Research Impact

This project relies upon an emerging optical wireless technology which is a prime candidate for future bandwidth hungry biomedical applications involving implants.

TOW systems have distinct advantages in comparison with their radio frequency (RF), acoustic wave, conductive or electrical induction counterparts, including extremely high data rates, a very high security level, electromagnetic interference immunity, compactness, flexibility in deployment and redeployment, easy installation and reduced possibility of infection.

Another key contribution of this work is the introduction in the field of TOW links of the diversity technique which refers to the consideration of multiple copies of the propagated signals, in an attempt to overcome a poor transmission and enhance the total system reliability and performance. Indeed, by employing different diversity configurations alternatively in space, in time or in wavelength the research demonstrates that diversity is as an effective technique in enhancing the outage performance of a typical TOW link.