(Source: Queen University Belfast)
Researchers work on body-to-body network for "anytime, anywhere" connectivity.

Wearable sensors that would transfer data anytime, anywhere could usher in the next phase of wireless networking. The sensors would produce high speed mobile internet infrastructures;  cutting down the density of mobile phone base stations.

Researchers from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) Wireless Communications Research Group at Queen University Belfast are developing the new body-to-body (BBN) technology through a project using next generation body centric communications.  The BBN technology would make it possible for wireless humans to form the backbone of powerful new mobile internet networks.

According to Dr. Simon Cotton of ECIT's wireless communications research group, a great deal of research has gone into antennas and systems designed to share information across the surface of the human body. However, until now, not much has been done to address how that information could effectively be transferred to an off-body location.

"The availability of body-to-body networks could bring great social benefits, including significant health care improvements through the use of body worn sensors for the widespread, routine monitoring and treatment of illness away from medical centers," said Cotton.

He believes that body-to-body networks could reduce health care costs and improve home health care for the elderly.

"If the idea takes off, BBNs could also lead to a reduction in the number of base stations needed to service mobile phone users, particularly in areas of high population density. This could help to alleviate public perceptions of adverse health associated with current networks and be more environmentally friendly due to the much lower power levels required for operation," Cotton said.

In addition to health monitoring; mobile gaming and real-time tactical training is being considered as a potential benefit of body-to-body networking.  The newly developed BBN technology is expected to grow to more than 400 million devices annually by 2014.

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