Self-Reconfigurable Micro-Implants for Cross-Tissue Wireless and Batteryless Connectivity

Self-Reconfigurable Micro-Implants for Cross-Tissue Wireless and Batteryless Connectivity

Mohamed R. Abdelhamid, Ruicong Chen, Joonhyuk Cho, Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Fadel Adib. 2020. Self-Reconfigurable Micro-Implants for CrossTissue Wireless and Batteryless Connectivity. In The 26th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom ’20), September 21–25, 2020, London, United Kingdom. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 14 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3372224.3419216

Abstract

We present the design, implementation, and evaluation of µmedIC, a fully-integrated wireless and batteryless micro-implanted sensor. The sensor powers up by harvesting energy from RF signals and communicates at near-zero power via backscatter. In contrast to prior designs which cannot operate across various in-body environments, our sensor can self-reconfigure to adapt to different tissues and channel conditions. This adaptation is made possible by two key innovations: a reprogrammable antenna that can tune its energy harvesting resonance to surrounding tissues, and a backscatter rate adaptation protocol that closes the feedback loop by tracking circuitlevel sensor hints. 

We built our design on millimeter-sized integrated chips and flexible antenna substrates, and tested it in environments that span both in-vitro (fluids) and ex-vivo (tissues) conditions. Our evaluation demonstrates µmedIC’s ability to tune its energy harvesting resonance by more than 200 MHz (i.e., adapt to different tissues) and to scale its bitrate by an order of magnitude up to 6Mbps, allowing it to support higher data rate applications (such as streaming low-res images) without sacrificing availability. This rate adaptation also allows µmedIC to scale its energy consumption by an order of magnitude down to 350 nanoWatts. These capabilities pave way for a new generation of networked micro-implants that can adapt to complex and time-varying in-body environments.