Health Care Sensor Networks – Architecture and Protocols
Wireless sensor networks consist of a large number of tiny devices capable of executing sensing, data processing and communication tasks and as such can be applied in numerous user scenarios. Various military, security and environment monitoring applications are the most frequent examples. Another area that can also significantly benefit from advanced features of this technology is health-care monitoring. In contrast to the conventional, face-to-face oriented health-care systems organized around health-care centers, the new health-care paradigm presented in this paper relies on personal mobile health-care solutions that utilize ad-hoc networking principles and wireless communication technologies to provide continuous and unobtrusive health monitoring regardless of patient’s or caregiver’s location and activity. Health-care sensors worn by patients are controlled by user’s communication device (for example mobile phone) that automatically recognizes the sensors’ functions and establishes required communication links. In this paper, architecture of such systems is proposed and discussed. A flexible XML based communication protocol that supports various types of sensors is also presented. The concept of distributed, peer-to-peer, health care systems is also discussed.