Réseaux CORporels MObiles CoopéRAtifs pour la Navigation de Groupe (Cooperative and Mobile Wireless Body Area Networks for Group Navigation)

Start date: 2012
End date: 2015
Funding: Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) – programme INFRA
Partners: CEA, Insa de Lyon, Univ. Rennes 1

Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) have already started fulfilling market needs in a variety of applications such as emergency and rescue, healthcare, entertainment, personal multimedia, clothing, etc. They rely in part on emerging radio technologies that claim Ultra Low Power (ULP) consumption and low complexity, e.g. Impulse Radio – Ultra Wideband (IR-UWB), as put forward in the IEEE 802.15.6 standard under elaboration.

In the near future, those wireless networks are expected to change drastically our daily life, by participating as a core enabling technology of the Internet of Things (IoT). People endowed with sensing and actuating capabilities could indeed interact more efficiently with their immediate environment, while getting distantly connected through the World Wide Web infrastructure. In this context, new cooperative schemes that recently appeared in the field of wireless communications can be applied, either within one single wearable network, or between distinct wearable networks at short transmission ranges, providing respectively intra-WBAN and/or inter-WBAN cooperation. Groups of cooperative WBANs disseminated in crowded places could hence play a significant role in future communication networks, by serving as distributed pieces of the system skeleton though Body to Body (B2B) interactions.

But cooperative communication schemes are also of interest to side radiolocation applications, providing information redundancy, better coverage and better location accuracy. Range measurements can for instance be collected between mobile nodes for cooperative positioning e.g., in ad hoc Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), or in heterogeneous Multi-Radio Access Networks (RANs), where a few short-range peer-to-peer measurements can opportunistically complement centralized means (e.g. WiFi or Macro-Cellular) to track mobile users. One common requirement with such network-based location systems is to bring high location precision (< 1m) in environments where satellite solutions cannot operate (e.g. indoor). Overall, there is a clear interest today in fusing cooperative short-range communications and radiolocation capabilities within mobile groups of WBANs.

First, locational affinity awareness would be valuable to various WBAN-oriented applications. Then, similar short-range Low Data Rate ULP radio technologies have been recommended for both WBANs and location-enabled WSNs so far. The massive deployment of personal wearable networks would also offer intrinsic cooperation availability in most practical environments (e.g. in public areas).

Finally a growing attention is paid today to user-centric and context-aware applications, requiring location-dependent information on the mobile end-user side with decentralized resources and limited (or even with no) access to the costly and power-hungry infrastructure.

One main goal of the “CORMORAN” project is then to figure out innovative communication functionalities and radiolocation algorithms that could benefit from inter/intra-WBAN cooperation. More precisely, the idea is to enable accurate nodes/body location, as well as Quality of Service management and communications reliability (from the protocol point of view), while coping with inter-WBAN coexistence, low power constraints and complying with IEEE 802.15.6 standard.

The proposed solutions will be evaluated in realistic applicative scenarios, hence necessitating the development of adapted simulation tools and real-life experiments based on hardware platforms. For this sake, CORMORAN will follow an original approach, mixing theoretical work (e.g. modelling activities, algorithms and cross-layer PHY/MAC/NWK design) with more practical aspects (e.g. channel and antennas measurement campaigns, algorithms implementation on experimental platforms, demonstrations).

The final objective would be to make possible unprecedented applications such as highly coordinated group navigation, collective motion capture in sports, geo-referenced nomadic social networks…

Télécom ParisTech staff

  • Claude Chaudet, Associate Professor