High Data Rate Communications in Vivo Using Ultrasound

Zhengchang Kou, Rita J. Miller, Andrew C. Singer, Michael L. Oelze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of in-body medical devices has provided a means of capturing physiological or diagnostic information and streaming this information outside of the body. Currently, electromagnetic-based communications make up the bulk of in-body medical device communication protocols. Traditional electromagnetic-based solutions are limited in their data rates and available power. Recently, ultrasound was investigated as a communication channel for through-tissue data transmission. To achieve real-time video streaming through tissue, data rates of ultrasound need to exceed 1 Mbps. In a previous study, we demonstrated ultrasound communications with data rates greater than 30 Mbps with two focused ultrasound transducers using a large footprint laboratory system through slabs of lossy tissues. While the form factor of the transmitter is also crucial, it is obvious that a large, focused transducer cannot fit within the size of a small in-body medical device. Several other challenges for achieving high-speed ultrasonic communication through tissue include strong reflections leading to multipath effects and attenuation. In this work, we demonstrate ultrasonic video communications using a mm-scale microcrystal transmitter with video streaming supplied by a camera connected to a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The signals were transmitted through a tissue-mimicking phantom and through the abdomen of a rabbit in vivo. The ultrasound signal was recorded by an array probe connected to a Verasonics Vantage system and decoded back to video. To improve the received signal quality, we combined the signal from multiple channels of the array probe. Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation was used to reduce the receiver complexity under a strong multipath environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3308-3316
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustics
  • Arrays
  • Bandwidth
  • OFDM modulation
  • Phantoms
  • Streaming media
  • Transducers
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • diversity receiver
  • implanted medical device
  • inbody communications
  • wireless communication
  • Diversity receiver
  • in-body communications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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