The use of wirelessly internetworked miniaturized biomedical devices is promising a significant leap forward in medical treatment of many pervasive diseases. Recognizing the limitations of traditional radio-frequency wireless communications in interconnecting devices within the human body, in this paper, we propose for the first time to develop network protocols for implantable devices based on ultrasonic transmissions. We start off by assessing the theoretical feasibility of using ultrasonic waves in human tissues and by deriving an accurate channel model for ultrasonic intrabody communications.Then, we propose a new ultrasonic transmission and multiple access technique, which we refer to as Ultrasonic WideBand (UsWB).
UsWB is based on the idea of transmitting information bits spread over very short pulses following a time-hopping pattern. The short impulse duration results in limited reflection and scattering effects, and the low duty cycle reduces the impact of thermal and mechanical effects, which may be detrimental for human health. We then develop a multiple access technique with distributed control to enable efficient simultaneous access by mutually interfering devices based on minimal and localized information exchange and on measurements at the receiver only. Finally, we demonstrate the performance of UsWB through a multiscale simulator that models the proposed communication system at the acoustic wave level, at the physical (bit) level, and at the network(packet) level. We also validate the simulation results by comparing them to experimental results obtained with a software-defined testbed.