Optical Wireless Data Transfer Through Biotissues: Practical Evidence and Initial Results

Iqrar Ahmed, Alexander Bykov, Alexey Popov, Igor Meglinski, Marcos Katz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Light has been used in many medical applications to monitor health status and diagnose diseases. Examples include optical sensing through nearinfrared (NIR) spectroscopy, optical coherence tomography, and pulse oximetry. In this article, we propose and demonstrate digital communications through biological tissues using near-infrared light. There are many possible uses to an optical system transmitting information across tissues. In current practices, implants predominantly use radio frequency (RF) radiation for communication. However, molecular biology restricts use of the RF in terms of power, frequency etc., while interference and security issues represent technological challenges in RF communication. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel way of employing NIR light for wireless transmission of data through biological tissues. A phantom mimicking a biological tissue is illuminated with a NIR 810 nm wavelength light-emitting diode (LED), and a light detector with line-of-sight alignment is placed on receiving end. An experimental testbed for Optical Communications through Biotissue (OCBT) was designed and implemented using mostly off-the-shelf components. Measurements for different levels of optical output power and thicknesses were carried out. Transmission rates as high as several tens of kilobits-per-second across several millimeters of tissues were achieved. Hardware limitations in modulating the baseband signal prevented achieving higher data rates. In addition, a high-resolution picture was successfully transmitted through biotissue. The communication system as well as details of the testbed implementations are presented in this paper. Moreover, initial performance measures as well as suggestions for potential use of this optical communication system are also presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBody Area Networks. Smart IoT and Big Data for Intelligent Health Management - 14th EAI International Conference, BODYNETS 2019, Proceedings
EditorsLorenzo Mucchi, Matti Hämäläinen, Sara Jayousi, Simone Morosi
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-34832-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event14th EAI International Conference on Body Area Networks, BodyNets 2019 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 2 Oct 20193 Oct 2019

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering


Conference14th EAI International Conference on Body Area Networks, BodyNets 2019


  • Biological tissue
  • Implantable medical devices
  • Medical technology
  • Medical wireless communications
  • Near-infrared communications
  • Optical wireless communications
  • WBAN


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