Wireless Health

Wireless Health is the integration of wireless technology into traditional medicine, such as diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of illness, as well as other tools that can help individuals improve their personal health and wellbeing. Wireless health differs from mHealth in that wireless health solutions will not always be mobile and mobile health solutions will not always be wirelessly enabled. Mobile broadband connectivity is useful in reaching new patients in remote areas while improving productivity and convenience through data transmission.

These are similar to wireless ad hoc networks in the sense that they rely on wireless connectivity and spontaneous formation of networks so that sensor data can be transported wirelessly. WSNs are spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. and to cooperatively pass their data through the network to a main location. The more modern networks are bi-directional, also enabling control of sensor activity. The development of wireless sensor networks was motivated by military applications such as battlefield surveillance; today such networks are used in many industrial and consumer applications, such as industrial process monitoring and control, machine health monitoring, and so on.

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The WSN is built of nodes from a few to several hundreds or even thousands, where each node is connected to one (or sometimes several) sensors. Each such sensor network node has typically several parts: a radio transceiver with an internal antenna or connection to an external antenna, a microcontroller, an electronic circuit for interfacing with the sensors and an energy source, usually a battery or an embedded form of energy harvesting. A sensor node might vary in size from that of a shoebox down to the size of a grain of dust, although functioning motes of genuine microscopic dimensions have yet to be created. The cost of sensor nodes is similarly variable, ranging from a few to hundreds of dollars, depending on the complexity of the individual sensor nodes. Size and cost constraints on sensor nodes result in corresponding constraints on resources such as energy, memory, computational speed and communications bandwidth.

There are several types of sensor networks for medical applications: implanted, wearable, and environment-embedded. Implantable medical devices are those that are inserted inside the human body. Wearable devices are used on the body surface of a human or just at close proximity of the user. Environment-embedded systems employ sensors contained in the environment. Possible applications include body position measurement, location of persons, overall monitoring of ill patients in hospitals and at home. Devices embedded in the environment track the physical state of a person for continuous health diagnosis, using as input the data from a network of depth cameras, a sensing floor, or other similar devices. Body-area networks can collect information about an individual's health, fitness, and energy expenditure. In health care applications the privacy and authenticity of user data has prime importance. Especially due to the integration of sensor networks, with IoT, the user authentication becomes more challenging; however, a solution is presented in recent work.

Christina Misc