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Title: Near field sensing and antenna design for wireless body area network
Authors: Amer, Waleed
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Wireless body area network (WBAN) has emerged in recent years as a special class of wireless sensor network; hence, WBAN inherits the wireless sensor network challenges of interference by passive objects in indoor environments. However, attaching wireless nodes to a person’s body imposes a unique challenge, presented by continuous changes in the working environment, due to the normal activities of the monitored personnel. Basic activities, like sitting on a metallic chair or standing near a metallic door, drastically change the antenna behaviour when the metallic object is within the antenna near field. Although antenna coupling with the human body has been investigated by many recent studies, the coupling of the WBAN node antenna with other objects within the surrounding environment has not been thoroughly studied. To address the problems above, the thesis investigates the state-of-the art of WBAN, eximanes the influence of metallic object near an antenna through experimental studies and proposes antenna design and their applications for near field environments. This thesis philosophy for the previously mentioned challenge is to examine and improve the WBAN interaction with its surrounding by enabling the WBAN node to detect nearby objects based solely on change in antenna measurements. The thesis studies the interference caused by passive objects on WBAN node antenna and extracts relevant features to sense the object presence within the near field, and proposes new design of WBAN antenna suitable for this purpose. The major contributions of this study can be summarised as follows. First, it observes and defines the changes in the return loss of a narrow band antenna when a metallic object is introduced in its near field. Two methods were proposed to detect the object, based on the refelction coefficient and transmission coefficient of an antenna in free space. Then, the thesis introduces a new antenna design that conforms to the WBAN requirements of size, while achieving very low sensitivity to human body. This was achieved through combining two opposite Vivaldi shapes on one PCB and using a metallic sheet to act as a reflector, which minimised the antenna coupling with the human body and reduced the radiation pattern towards the body. Finally, the proposed antennas were tested on several human body parts with nearby metallic objects, to compare the change in antenna s-parameters due to presence of the human body and presence of the metallic object. Based on the measurements, basic statistical indicators and Principal Component Analysis were proposed to detect object presense and estimate its distance. In conclusion, the thesis successfully shows WBAN antenna’s ability to detect nearby metallic objects through a set of proposed indicators and novel antenna design. The thesis is wrapped up by the suggestion to investigate time domain features and modulated signal for future work in WBAN near field sensing.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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