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Title: Experimental characterisation of body-centric radio channels using wireless sensors
Author: Munoz Torrico, Max O.
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Wireless sensors and their applications have become increasingly attractive for industry, building automation and energy control, paving the way for new applications of sensor networks which go well beyond traditional sensor applications. In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the number of wireless devices operating in close proximity to the human body. Wearable sensor nodes are growing popular not only in our normal living lifestyle, but also within healthcare and military applications, where different radio units operating in/on/off body communicate pervasively. Expectations go beyond the research visions, towards deployment in real-world applications that would empower business processes and future business cases. Although theoretical and simulation models give initial results of the antenna behaviour and the radio channel performance of wireless body area network (WBAN) devices, empirical data from different set of measurements still form an essential part of the radio propagation models. Usually, measurements are performed in laboratory facilities which are equipped with bulky and expensive RF instrumentation within calibrated and controllable environments; thus, the acquired data has the highest possible reliability. However, there are still measurement uncertainties due to cables and connections and significant variations when designs are deployed and measured in real scenarios, such as hospitals wards, commercial buildings or even the battle field. Consequently, more flexible and less expensive measurement tools are required. In this sense, wireless sensor nodes offer not only easiness to deploy or flexibility, but also adaptability to different environments. In this thesis, custom-built wireless sensor nodes are used to characterise different on-body radio channels operating in the IEEE 802.15.4 communication standard at the 2.45 GHz ISM band. Measurement results are also compared with those from the conventional technique using a Vector Network Analyser. The wireless sensor nodes not only diminished the effect of semi-rigid or flexible coaxial cables (scattering or radiation) used with the Vector Network Analyser (VNA), but also provided a more realistic response of the radio link channel. The performance of the wireless sensors is presented over each of the 16 different channels present at the 2.45 GHz band. Additionally, custom-built wireless sensors are used to characterise and model the performance of different on-body radio links in dynamic environments, such as jogging, rowing, and cycling. The use of wireless sensors proves to be less obstructive and more flexible than traditional measurements using coaxial cables, VNA or signal generators. The statistical analysis of different WBAN channels highlighted important radio propagation features which can be used as sport classifiers models and motion detection. Moreover, specific on-body radio propagation channels are further explored, with the aim to recognize physiological features such as motion pattern, breathing activity and heartbeat. The time domain sample data is transformed to the frequency domain using a non-parametric FFT defined by the Welch’s periodogram. The Appendix-Section D explores other digital signal processing techniques which include spectrograms (STFT) and wavelet transforms (WT). Although a simple analysis is presented, strong DSP techniques proved to be good for signal de-noising and multi-resolution analysis. Finally, preliminary results are presented for indoor tracking using the RSS recorded by multiple wireless sensor nodes deployed in an indoor scenario. In contrast to outdoor environments, indoor scenarios are subject to a high level of multipath signals which are dependent on the indoor clutter. The presented algorithm is based on path loss analysis combined with spatial knowledge of each wireless sensor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electronic Engineering ; Wireless networks ; Wireless sensors