Purdue University Graduate School
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Design of Intelligent Internet of Things and Internet of Bodies Sensor Nodes

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posted on 2021-07-23, 02:22 authored by Shitij Tushar AvlaniShitij Tushar Avlani
Energy-efficient communication has remained the primary bottleneck in achieving fully energy-autonomous IoT nodes. Several scenarios including In-Sensor-Analytics (ISA), Collaborative Intelligence (CI) and Context-Aware-Switching (CAS) of the cluster-head during CI have been explored to trade-off the energies required for communication and computation in a wireless sensor network deployed in a mesh for multi-sensor measurement. A real-time co-optimization algorithm was developed for minimizing the energy consumption in the network for maximizing the overall battery lifetime of individual nodes.

The difficulty of achieving the design goals of lifetime, information accuracy, transmission distance, and cost, using traditional battery powered devices has driven significant research in energy-harvested wireless sensor nodes. This challenge is further amplified by the inherent power intensive nature of long-range communication when sensor networks are required to span vast areas such as agricultural fields and remote terrain. Solar power is a common energy source is wireless sensor nodes, however, it is not reliable due to fluctuations in power stemming from the changing seasons and weather conditions. This paper tackles these issues by presenting a perpetually-powered, energy-harvesting sensor node which utilizes a minimally sized solar cell and is capable of long range communication by dynamically co-optimizing energy consumption and information transfer, termed as Energy-Information Dynamic Co-Optimization (EICO). This energy-information intelligence is achieved by adaptive duty cycling of information transfer based on the total amount of energy available from the harvester and charge storage element to optimize the energy consumption of the sensor node, while employing event driven communication to minimize loss of information. We show results of continuous monitoring across 1Km without replacing the battery and maintaining an information accuracy of at least 95%.

Decades of continuous scaling in semiconductor technology has resulted in a drastic reduction in the cost and size of unit computing. This has enabled the design and development of small form factor wearable devices which communicate with each other to form a network around the body, commonly known as the Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN). These devices have found significant application for medical purposes such as reading surface bio-potential signals for monitoring, diagnosis, and therapy. One such device for the management of oropharyngeal swallowing disorders is described in this thesis. Radio wave transmission over air is the commonly used method of communication among these devices, but in recent years Human Body Communication has shown great promise to replace wireless communication for information exchange in a WBAN. However, there are very few studies in literature, that systematically study the channel loss of capacitive HBC for wearable devices over a wide frequency range with different terminations at the receiver, partly due to the need for miniaturized wearable devices for an accurate study. This thesis also measures and explores the channel loss of capacitive HBC from 100KHz to 1GHz for both high-impedance and 50Ohm terminations using wearable, battery powered devices; which is mandatory for accurate measurement of the HBC channel-loss, due to ground coupling effects. The measured results provide a consistent wearable, wide-frequency HBC channel loss data and could serve as a backbone for the emerging field of HBC by aiding in the selection of an appropriate operation frequency and termination.

Lastly, the power and security benefits of human body communication is demonstrated by extending it to animals (animal body communication). A sub-inch^3, custom-designed sensor node is built using off the shelf components which is capable of sensing and transmitting biopotential signals, through the body of the rat at significantly lower powers compared to traditional wireless transmissions. In-vivo experimental analysis proves that ABC successfully transmits acquired electrocardiogram (EKG) signals through the body with correlation accuracy >99% when compared to traditional wireless communication modalities, with a 50x reduction in power consumption.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Shreyas Sen

Additional Committee Member 2

Byunghoo Jung

Additional Committee Member 3

Kaushik Roy