Computing Reviews

Body sensor networks (2nd ed.)
Yang G., Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, New York, NY, 2014. 564 pp. Type: Book
Date Reviewed: 12/09/14

With the growing importance of proactive human healthcare and well-being needs, pervasive body sensing capabilities, the corresponding networking of sensors, and health data analytics are getting important attention when it comes to research, development, and commercial applicability. This book aims to describe state-of-the-art work in different dimensions of body sensor networks (BSNs). The chapters are categorized as follows: health sensors (chapters 2 and 3); sensor network communications (chapters 4 and 5); energy issues (chapters 6 and 7); miscellaneous capabilities of BSN (chapters 8, 9, and 10); and practical systems and case studies (chapters 11 and 12 and appendices A and B). The introductory part of the book discusses various application domains of BSNs (such as patients with chronic diseases, patient monitoring in hospitals, assisted living for the elderly, lifestyle, and well-being), and then various technological challenges involved in BSNs.

Pervasive health sensing capabilities are presented in chapters 2 and 3. In chapter 2, some fundamentals of biosensor systems are discussed: bioanalysis, molecular recognition, electrochemical sensing, microsensor arrays, new materials for advanced biosensing, and their future perspectives. Then, chapter 3 focuses on the engineering methods behind biosensor design. This part discusses biomolecular engineering, some biosensing applications, advancements in nanotechnology, and implantable sensors.

Various advancements in BSN communications are explored in chapters 4 and 5. Chapter 4 focuses on developments in wireless communication methodologies, including the basics of inductive coupling, the nature of radio frequency (RF) communication in the body, communication with implantable devices, BSN-specific antenna designs, the basics of matching networks, antenna signal propagation patterns, perspective of materials, and power and form factor issues. Chapter 5 examines networked communication standards, with a focus on network topology control, BSN communication method standards and their specifications, practical issues like interference, and system integration scenarios for healthcare (such as ISO/IEEE 11073 Medical Device Communications (MDC) and Personal Health Data Communication (PHDC) standards).

Energy-related issues in BSNs are presented in chapters 6 and 7. Chapter 6 discusses energy harvesting capabilities and delivery of generated power, along with their practical scenarios of system integration and future trends. Chapter 7 examines ultralow power and bio-inspired health signal processing. Important miscellaneous capabilities and opportunities in BSNs are described (chapters 8, 9, and 10), which include multisensor data fusion techniques, context-awareness (discussion on application scenarios, preprocessing, context recognition, user behavior profiling), and autonomic self-managing sensing systems. The autonomic sensing systems are discussed for self-managing features with fault detection, self-healing, self-organized networks, medium access control (MAC), security, and privacy issues.

Practical case studies and system integration are presented in chapters 11 and 12 and appendices A and B. Chapter 11 involves wireless sensing microsystems (for example, swallowable capsule devices), their electronic designs, wireless communication modes, sources of power, and packaging. Chapter 12 focuses on body movement capture modes and motion model reconstruction, while appendices A and B contain a comparative study of available wireless sensing system platforms and available software tools.

Overall, the book’s contents are related to various layers of BSNs or smart healthcare. A good amount of domain-specific BSN knowledge is available for readers throughout the book. However, for practical applicability, the broader extensions of appendices A and B are desired, although more detailed descriptions and tutorials on available hardware and software development platforms/tools could have been provided. Also, some chapters dedicated to health data analytics would have been valuable as well.

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Reviewer:  Debraj De Review #: CR142992 (1503-0199)

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