A dedicated radiofrequency spectrum is allocated for medical devices in the United States

The FCC recently allocated a dedicated RF spectrum for Medical Body Area Network (MBAN) technologies. The MBAN spectrum can be used for low-power and short-range medical applications as well as other, perhaps unprecedented, uses in consumer electronics, personal entertainment, gaming, sport training, and social network applications. The transmitting/emitting devices can be implanted or placed on the surface or around the body of humans (or animals). The MBAN adheres to IEEE 802.15.6-2012 standard and supports the data rates up to 10 Mbps. The allocated frequency bands include 402–405, 420 –450, 863 –870, 902 –928, 950 –956, 2360 –2400, and 2400 –2483.5MHz. Creation of the MBAN spectrum has been driven by the “last meter” challenge of untethering the patient from the bedside monitoring and treatment equipment. In addition to the bedside applications of MBAN spectrum, the neural interface devices are also likely to benefit from the new bandwidth. MBAN can spur the development of novel data-intensive neural interfaces, ranging from EEG and ECoG to cochlear and retinal implants. The newly-allocated bandwidth can be readily utilized for sending the wide-band neural signals from hundreds of recording electrodes or for sending the control signals to hundreds of stimulation electrodes. Use of the bandwidth reduces the need for incorporating the multiplexing and signal-processing circuits inside the implantable device and, instead, sending the raw data to an external controller, such as a body-worn smartphone-like device. My personal hope is that simplification and standardization of the implantable electronics will lead to the considerable price reduction and eventual emergence of consumer-oriented implantable neural interfaces for non-medical use.

1 thought on “A dedicated radiofrequency spectrum is allocated for medical devices in the United States”

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