NICT Develops Wearable Electrocardiograph Using Body Area Network

May 13, 2009
Takuya Otani, Nikkei Electronics
The newly developed electrocardiograph (right) and the measured data being displayed on a mobile phone (BAN coordinator) using BAN (left)
The newly developed electrocardiograph (right) and the measured data being displayed on a mobile phone (BAN coordinator) using BAN (left)
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The new electrocardiograph (upper) and the measured data being displayed on a monitor (bottom)
The new electrocardiograph (upper) and the measured data being displayed on a monitor (bottom)
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) developed an electrocardiograph that can be worn like an accessory with the help of Yokohama City University and Research & Innovation for the Environmental Health Medicine (RIE).

The electrocardiograph uses "BAN (body area network)," a short-distance wireless communication technology used for communications between devices close to the human body and a sensor in the body, for example.

It can continuously perform an electrocardiogram for 24 hours and wirelessly transmit the measurements just by being worn around the neck like a necklace. NICT expects the electrocardiograph to be used for personal health management in everyday life and remote monitoring of patients, etc.

The new electrocardiograph not only can perform an electrocardiogram but also can measure changes in body surface temperature and body posture. Because of its light weight of about 20g and dry measurement electrodes that do not require gel, wearing it around the neck "is not uncomfortable," NICT said.

Moreover, the electrocardiograph features a "low-power security function." This is a security technology that dynamically generates cryptographic keys by leveraging the fact that changes in posture and biological data are unique to each user. The technology helps cut the power consumption because only a small amount of calculation is required to generate cryptographic keys, according to NICT.

BAN is currently being standardized at IEEE802.15.6.