Channel Modeling of Miniaturized Battery-Powered Capacitive Human Body Communication Systems
Objective: The purpose of this contribution is to estimate the path loss of capacitive human body communication (HBC) systems under practical conditions. Methods: Most prior work utilizes large grounded instruments to perform path loss measurements, resulting in overly optimistic path loss estimates for wearable HBC devices. In this paper, small battery-powered transmitter and receiver devices are implemented to measure path loss under realistic assumptions. A hybrid electrostatic finite element method simulation model is presented that validates measurements and enables rapid and accurate characterization of future capacitive HBC systems. Results: Measurements from form-factor-accurate prototypes reveal path loss results between 31.7 and 42.2 dB from 20 to 150 MHz. Simulation results matched measurements within 2.5 dB. Comeasurements using large grounded benchtop vector network analyzer (VNA) and large battery-powered spectrum analyzer (SA) underestimate path loss by up to 33.6 and 8.2 dB, respectively. Measurements utilizing a VNA with baluns, or large battery-powered SAs with baluns still underestimate path loss by up to 24.3 and 6.7 dB, respectively. Conclusion: Measurements of path loss in capacitive HBC systems strongly depend on instrumentation configurations. It is thus imperative to simulate or measure path loss in capacitive HBC systems utilizing realistic geometries and grounding configurations. Significance: HBC has a great potential for many emerging wearable devices and applications; accurate path loss estimation will improve system-level design leading to viable products.
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