The FCC on Thursday announced plans to set aside a chunk of spectrum for connecting wireless medical devices, reports Reuters. The allocation of spectrum for so-called Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs) is part of the FCC’s push to free up unused spectrum and will be up for a vote at the FCC’s May 24 meeting.
With wireless medical devices, doctors could monitor a patient’s vital signs at home or in the hospital via low-cost wearable sensors that are attached to the patient’s body and wirelessly connected to the machines that process and display the data for doctors. TheIEEE 802.15 Task Group 6 (Body Area Network) developed a communication standard optimized for low power devices for operation on, in or around the human body.
The Philips Heartcycle, a sensor-embedded shirt measuring heart functions, was announced last year.
The medical devices lobby pushed the FCC to give it rights to 40 MHz of frequencies, just below the WiFi band. So far the FCC aims to set aside two spectrum bands, apparently 2300-2305 MHz and 2360-2395 MHz. One band would only be valid for devices used in medical facilities. A second spectrum band could be used for remote monitoring of patients who are in their own homes.
Currently, sensors have to be attached directly to machines by wires, making it difficult for patients to leave their beds.
More info here.