Rice University

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Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rice Networks Group

Speaker: Tommaso Melodia
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo

Sonar Inside Your Body - Towards Implantable Ultrasonic Wireless Sensor Networks

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
4:00 PM  to 5:00 PM

1064  George R. Brown Hall
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

Wirelessly networked systems of implantable sensors and actuators could enable revolutionary applications with the potential to advance medical treatment of major diseases of our times. Yet, most "body area networks" research to date has focused on communications among devices interconnected through traditional electromagnetic radio-frequency (RF) waves (often along the body surface); while the key challenge of enabling networked intra-body miniaturized sensors and actuators that communicate through body tissues is substantially unaddressed. The main obstacle to enabling this vision is posed by the physical nature of propagation in the human body, which is composed primarily of water, a medium through which RF electromagnetic waves do not propagate well.

In this talk, I will give an overview of our ongoing work attempting a different approach, i.e., establishing wireless networks through human tissues by means of acoustic waves at ultrasonic frequencies. We will discuss the fundamentals of ultrasonic propagation in human tissues and their impact on wireless protocol design at different layers of the protocol stack. We will then discuss our ongoing work on designing and prototyping ultrasonic networking protocols through a closed-loop combination of mathematical modeling, simulation, and experimental evaluation. Specifically, we will discuss three intertwined research activities, i.e, (i) ultrasonic propagation and channel modeling in human tissues; (ii) prototyping of distributed physical/medium access control layer solutions for impulse-based ultrasonic networks on software-defined radios; (iii) distributed and asynchronous cross-layer control and resource allocation algorithms based on stochastic modeling of ultrasonic interference.

Host: Edward Knightly

Biography of Tommaso Melodia:
Tommaso Melodia is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, and coauthored a paper that was recognized as the Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Computer Science for February 2009 by Thomson ISI Essential Science Indicators and a paper that received an Elsevier Top Cited Paper Award. He is the Technical Program Committee Vice Chair for IEEE Globecom 2013 and the Technical Program Committee Vice Chair for Information Systems for IEEE INFOCOM 2013. He serves in the Editorial Boards of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and Computer Networks (Elsevier). His current research interests are in modeling, optimization, and experimental evaluation of networked communication systems, with applications to ultrasonic intra-body area networks, cognitive and cooperative networking, multimedia sensor networks, and underwater networks.

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