Wireless body area networks (WBANs) has attracted significant interest in research and development
related to various applications in the field of healthcare, sports, defense, entertainment and day-to-day
life. Due to the on-going miniaturization of wireless sensor devices, wearable devices have become a
reality and are catering to various needs such as healthcare monitoring, localization, motion tracking,
detection and smart homes. Ultra-wideband (UWB) communication is one promising technology for
WBANs due to various features such as fine time resolution, compact antenna design, high data rates, low
cost, less hardware complexity and the flexibility of integration with other technologies.
The work focuses on experimental and theoretical analysis on various aspects of body-centric communication for achieving high accuracy localization and tracking considering the fundamental limits of operating within the 3-10 GHz bandwidth. Analytical and experimental studies on different UWB source pulses, pulse width and effect of bandwidth on ranging and localisation have been conducted by applying different sub-bands of UWB to find the optimum source pulse and bandwidth using a miniaturized UWB antenna and time of arrival localisation techniques. In further work simulations, experimental and theoretical analysis is carried out considering three novel compact and cost effective base station configurations namely Y-Shape, L-Shape and Mirror-Based configurations. The human body is an integral part of various applications such as motion tracking, patient monitoring, training of athletes, etc. Investigations are carried out on the effects of human body in localizing body-worn antennas through simulations and experiments on human subjects in realistic indoor environments.
Channel characterization of various body-centric links such as on-body, off-body, body-to-body is carried out with the main focus on using the channel information to design algorithms for localisation accuracy enhancement suitable for tracking and activity monitoring applications. Localisation accuracy in the range of 0.5-3 cm has been achieved which is comparable to the commercial optical systems. Detailed numerical analysis of the radiation pattern of wearable antennas placed on the human limbs and torso during different activities is studied and analyzed. Investigations are carried out on classification of various on- body communication links during limb movement activities mimicking common exercises performed for general fitness, physiotherapy and rehabilitation in order to use channel information as activity progress indicators.
This work gives deeper insight related to the UWB propagation phenomenon and capabilities of UWB technology for tracking and localization by exploiting the fine time resolution/large bandwidth of the UWB signal. The key findings will aid in realization of a high resolution positioning system which will govern the future course of research for commercial realization of 3D positioning in indoor environment and body- worn antenna systems. The main future prospects of the work will be to design an efficient wearable wireless health monitoring system based on flexible electronics and antennas, through a multi-disciplinary approach and networking, integrated with various sensors to monitor an individual’s activities in a continuous basis, feeding relevant information back to users, medical professionals and central data centres.
Richa Bharadwaj received the Bachelors of Engineering degree (with Hons.) in electronics and communication from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, in 2008, the M.S. degree in micro and nanotechnologies for integrated systems from Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy; INPG Grenoble, Grenoble, France, and EPFL Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2010, and the Ph.D. degree in electronic engineering (specialised in ultra-wideband technology and body centric communication) from the School of Electronics and Computer Science (Antennas and Electromagnetics Research Group), Queen Mary University of London, London, U.K., in 2015. She was a National-Post Doctoral Fellow (Science and Engineering Board, Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India) with the Centre for Applied Research in Electronics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India from 2016-2018 where she is currently Institute Post- Doctoral Fellow. She has authored and co-authored two book chapters and a number of research publications in leading international journals and peer-reviewed conferences. She is a reviewer for several leading transactions and journals in the field of antennas and wireless communication. Her research interests include ultra-wideband communication, 3-D localization, wireless sensor networks, body area networks, radio propagation characterization and modelling, miniaturised antenna design, nanosensors, MEMS, and molecular electronics.