Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Kaveh Pahlavan, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Yehia Massoud, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Kamran Sayrafian, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Allen H. Levesque, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Sergey N. Makarov, Committee Member




"Many current and future medical devices are wearable, using the human body as a conduit for wireless communication, which implies that human body serves as a crucial part of the transmission medium in body area networks (BANs). Implantable medical devices such as Pacemaker and Cardiac Defibrillators are designed to provide patients with timely monitoring and treatment. Endoscopy capsules, pH Monitors and blood pressure sensors are used as clinical diagnostic tools to detect physiological abnormalities and replace traditional wired medical devices. Body-mounted sensors need to be investigated for use in providing a ubiquitous monitoring environment. In order to better design these medical devices, it is important to understand the propagation characteristics of channels for in-body and on- body wireless communication in BANs. The IEEE 802.15.6 Task Group 6 is officially working on the standardization of Body Area Network, including the channel modeling and communication protocol design. This thesis is focused on the propagation characteristics of human body movements. Specifically, standing, walking and jogging motions are measured, evaluated and analyzed using an empirical approach. Using a network analyzer, probabilistic models are derived for the communication links in the medical implant communication service band (MICS), the industrial scientific medical band (ISM) and the ultra- wideband (UWB) band. Statistical distributions of the received signal strength and second order statistics are presented to evaluate the link quality and outage performance for on-body to on- body communications at different antenna separations. The Normal distribution, Gamma distribution, Rayleigh distribution, Weibull distribution, Nakagami-m distribution, and Lognormal distribution are considered as potential models to describe the observed variation of received signal strength. Doppler spread in the frequency domain and coherence time in the time domain from temporal variations is analyzed to characterize the stability of the channels induced by human body movements. The shape of the Doppler spread spectrum is also investigated to describe the relationship of the power and frequency in the frequency domain. All these channel characteristics could be used in the design of communication protocols in BANs, as well as providing features to classify different human body activities. Realistic data extracted from built-in sensors in smart devices were used to assist in modeling and classification of human body movements along with the RF sensors. Variance, energy and frequency domain entropy of the data collected from accelerometer and orientation sensors are pre- processed as features to be used in machine learning algorithms. Activity classifiers with Backpropagation Network, Probabilistic Neural Network, k-Nearest Neighbor algorithm and Support Vector Machine are discussed and evaluated as means to discriminate human body motions. The detection accuracy can be improved with both RF and inertial sensors."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Energy, Entropy, Backpropagation, Probabilistic Neural Network, Support Vector Machine, k-Nearest Neighbor, Averaged Fade Duration, Level Crossing Rate, Statistical Characterization, Body Area Networks, Activity Classification, Coherence Time, Doppler Spread Spectrum, Doppler Spread, RF Propagation