Exploiting spatial degrees of freedom for high data rate ultrasound communication with implantable devices

Wang, Max L.; Arbabian, Amin
September 2017
Applied Physics Letters;9/25/2017, Vol. 111 Issue 13, p133503-1
Academic Journal
We propose and demonstrate an ultrasonic communication link using spatial degrees of freedom to increase data rates for deeply implantable medical devices. Low attenuation and millimeter wavelengths make ultrasound an ideal communication medium for miniaturized low-power implants. While a small spectral bandwidth has drastically limited achievable data rates in conventional ultrasonic implants, a large spatial bandwidth can be exploited by using multiple transducers in a multiple-input/multiple-output system to provide spatial multiplexing gain without additional power, larger bandwidth, or complicated packaging. We experimentally verify the communication link in mineral oil with a transmitter and a receiver 5 cm apart, each housing two custom-designed mm-sized piezoelectric transducers operating at the same frequency. Two streams of data modulated with quadrature phase-shift keying at 125 kbps are simultaneously transmitted and received on both channels, effectively doubling the data rate to 250 kbps with a measured bit error rate below 10-4. We also evaluate the performance and robustness of the channel separation network by testing the communication link after introducing position offsets. These results demonstrate the potential of spatial multiplexing to enable more complex implant applications requiring higher data rates.


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