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Medicine Networking Wireless Networking Science

FCC OKs On-Body Medical Networks 41

itwbennett writes "On Wednesday the FCC approved the use of medical micropower networks (MMNs) in four blocks of the 400MHz spectrum band despite opposition from broadcast engineers who say they are concerned about interference. MMNs can be used to bypass areas of the nervous system that have been impaired by strokes or spinal cord or brain injuries."
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FCC OKs On-Body Medical Networks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2011 @09:27AM (#38236326)

    Unless these devices have even the most basic of basic frequency-knocking or some sort of unique ID system, this could end up horribly wrong.
    God forbid some poor people ended up next to each other and interfered with each other.

    If they do, however, then alls good. Completely for it.
    Frequency-knocking or ID systems would prevent any interference outside of malicious intent.
    So the devices would essentially be safe in almost all cases.

    Now the only worry would be EMP explosions that could completely nuke the circuit. Let's hope they thought of that...

  • Why wireless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday December 02, 2011 @09:42AM (#38236382)

    In some instances, like communicating to implants from the outside without breaching the skin barrier, I can understand the use of radio signals - although induction sounds simpler, less power-hungry and more localized to me.

    But for implant-to-implant communication? This reminds me furiously of the wireless bicycle odometer idiocy, whereby a transmitter is used to transmit wheel rotation signals a couple of feet up to the odometer proper, using two batteries instead of one, and making the entire thing more expensive, less reliable and more prone to signal jamming, just for the sake of not running a 2-ft cable up a brake cable.

    If they're going to implant devices in someone's organism, they should just run wires under the skin: bio-compatible materials exist that wires can be made of (heck, they're already implanting the devices anyway), they'll get better throughput and latency, the devices will require less power, will be less complicated, and more importantly, will be immune to outside signals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2011 @10:28AM (#38236732)

    You're preaching to the choir. The FCC has made so MANY great decisions about spectrum sharing in the recent past. Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) and the wonderful Lightsquared LTE phone network debacle located right on top of the GPS band. They don't seem to grok the concept of "THESE DECISIONS MIGHT GET PEOPLE KILLED!"

    Am I over reacting here?

    If I can't take my cell phone into a medical area for fear of screwing up some life critical device in a medical office, why in the hell does the FCC think that the technology of these systems is going to be so good that my 1W 440Mhz transmitter isn't going to overload the little receiver and kill someone?

    I'm currently working on a commercial project that uses an extremely low power RF system. These systems are NOT robust because they can't afford the power or the real estate to do so! What filtering - and from and IN-BAND multi-watt transmitter. Don't forget - I'm allowed to put out a KW! (Well not here in CA - something about Beale Air Force Base..)


If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith