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FCC OKs on-body medical networks

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FCC OKs on-body medical networks @ ITworld.

The agency passed rules for wireless systems that can stimulate paralyzed limbs. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission adopted rules at a meeting on Wednesday to allow wireless networks of microstimulators designed to treat paralysis and other conditions.

The agency approved the use of MMNs (medical micropower networks) in four blocks of the 400MHz spectrum band despite opposition from broadcast engineers who say they are concerned about interference. One of the frequency blocks is used by trucks that send live media reports back to TV and radio stations.

Microstimulators implanted next to nerves can stimulate those nerves through electrical charges, causing muscles to contract and limbs to move. MMNs can link dozens of those stimulators to devices that take in signals from the human nervous system, bypassing areas of the nervous system that have been impaired by strokes or spinal cord or brain injuries.


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2 Comments

  1. Relative to the interference concerns, it is important to understand that these devices were granted a secondary allocation; that is they must be built to withstand interference from primary users of this spectrum (which are much higher power).

    Apparently they are line WiFi routers in that they have multiple channels and can switch the channel if one of them is in use.

    For more details see: http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-grants-secondary-service-allocation-to-wireless-broadband-medical-micropower-networks

  2. The FCC is allowing the use of RF spectrum for this application. I don’t think they really care about ‘on body medical networks’, they probably just decided that the impact on other spectrum users would be minimal/acceptable.

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