Abstract

There is an increasing demand for transdermal high-data-rate communication for use with in-body devices, such as pacemakers, smart prostheses, neural signals processors at the brain interface, and cameras acting as artificial eyes as well as for collecting signals generated within the human body. Prominent requirements of these communication systems include (1) wireless modality, (2) noise immunity and (3) ultra-low-power consumption for the in-body device. Today, the common wireless methods for transdermal communication are based on communication at radio frequencies, electrical induction, or acoustic waves. In this paper, we will explore another alternative to these methods—optical wireless communication (OWC)—for which modulated light carries the information. The main advantages of OWC in transdermal communication, by comparison to the other methods, are the high data rates and immunity to external interference availed, which combine to make it a promising technology for next-generation systems. In this paper, we present a mathematical model and experimental results of measurements from direct link and retroreflection link configurations with Gallus gallus domesticus derma as the transdermal channel. The main conclusion from this work is that an OWC link is an attractive communication solution in medical applications. For a modulating retroreflective link to become a competitive solution in comparison with a direct link, low-energy-consumption modulating retroreflectors should be developed.

©2012 Optical Society of America

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