Published: July 22, 2019

Wireless body sensor networks based on metamaterial textiles (Nature Electronics, Jun 2019)

Wireless body sensor networks based on metamaterial textiles

Tian X, Lee PM, Tan YJ, Wu TLY, Yao H, Zhang M, Li Z, Ng KA, Tee BCK and Ho JS.

Wireless networks of sensors, displays and smart devices that can be placed on a person’s body could have applications in health monitoring, medical interventions and human–machine interfaces. Such wireless body networks are, however, typically energy-inefficient and vulnerable to eavesdropping because they rely on radio-wave communications. Here, we report energy-efficient and secure wireless body sensor networks that are interconnected through radio surface plasmons propagating on metamaterial textiles. The approach uses clothing made from conductive fabrics that can support surface-plasmon-like modes at radio communication frequencies. Our body sensor networks enhance transmission efficiencies by three orders of magnitude compared to conventional radiative networks without the metamaterial textile, and confine wireless communication to within 10 cm of the body. We also show that the approach can offer wireless power transfer that is robust to motion and textile-based wireless touch sensing.

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