ROVER’s overarching aim is to advance knowledge in the area of intelligent wireless networks for medical ICT applications by creating new algorithms and non-invasive validated system prototypes for in-on-, on-on- and on-off-body communications. These will assist, automate and classify patients’ diagnostics and monitoring processes, minimizing, if not negating, subjective assessment as well as manual intervention of caregivers. ROVER also ensures proactive knowledge transfer and best practices worldwide with the effective mobility and training activities of researchers and staff.
Three crucial technical areas will be investigated: a) diagnostics and monitoring, b) data transfer and security and c) medical advisory interaction procedures through signal processing and machine learning. More specifically, our objectives are:
Objective 1. Wireless in-, on- and off-body communications. The identification of advanced solutions for secure exchange of the health data is a key aspect to be investigated. Information from different sources (e.g. in-/on-body sensors, environmental sensors, medical devices, manually inserted data, etc.) must be transferred to a smart hub for short-term processing, then to the cloud for long-term analysis and sharing. Interdisciplinary efforts in medical ICT and smart wireless body area networks (WBAN) achieve this goal. Novelty and concrete outcomes: Integration and interoperability of in-body communications with on/off-body ICT infrastructure is a global research challenge. Ultra-low latency and extremely reliable IoT architectures enable monitoring, predicting and responding to patients’ medical changes, bringing advanced healthcare advantages healthcare. Solutions for reliable and dependable (wireless) communications from body sensors to smart hub, and from hub to cloud will be developed, including the integration with 5G network for optimizing the throughput and the latency.
Objective 2. Physical layer system design. Radar based non-invasive technologies, IoT architectures for healthcare and patient monitoring, employing advances in 5G/6G communications , unsupervised and subject-independent automated classifiers will provide low computational cost and high accuracy solutions for medical abnormality detection. Antenna design and related signal processing (SP) of very low power microwave wideband signals (frequency band of interest is about 1 - 10 GHz) into deeper layers of the human body for communications, imaging, monitoring and treatment represent a real challenge. Unique SP methods, such as Doppler and Huygens approaches promote high resolution, reliable imaging and monitoring systems. Novelty and concrete outcomes: Microwave antennas and devices will be developed, tested and validated for fracture imaging, monitoring, localization, and the use of ultra wideband (UWB) will be considered to accurately identify the location and orientation of the next generation endoscopy capsules or smart pills in the gastrointestinal (GI) track, going far beyond current state-of-the-art (SotA). Moreover, millimetric localization precision inside a human body and Body-SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)), a technology to re-construct a 3D visualization of the interior of the human GI tract using precise localization and 2D image integration are two new insights in the field are considered.
Objective 3. Development of light security mechanisms. Security and privacy must be maintained from the information source (sensors in or on the body, nanoscale communications system, etc.) to the final destination (cloud), passing through all the intermediate nodes (hub, gateway, etc.), especially when the information data are about health of individuals. Low complex devices for the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will be one of the most disruptive technologies of the near future. Physical layer (PHY) security and light battery-powered compatible methods are amongst the research interest. Blockchain technology will be evaluated as an interesting candidate for securing the database and track the inter-exchange of data. Novelty and concrete outcomes: PHY layer security and light cryptography solutions, together with biometric encryption, can be promising techniques to secure health-related data in the context of IoMT. Concrete outcome is novel blockchain solution, which can be included in new products. This development work can only be done via multidisciplinary co-operation. The final outcome is expected to significantly improve IoMT devices’ current security level without need for high computing power. Reliability and confidentiality are the major requirements in health-related devices and services, in all level.
Objective 4. Novel molecular and nano-communications. Analytical models mapping biological communications in an engineering way, providing indicators to evaluate system performance will be developed. This is new way to establish communications links in IoMT fields. Novelty and concrete outcomes: Developing an understanding of different options to realize communications at body-level, even nanoscale among nano-precise entities, or nano-machines (whether genetically engineered biological cells or manmade nano-devices). The specific focus will be on bio-inspired communications through molecule exchange and biochemical reactions. Different solutions to realize nano-machines will be surveyed in ROVER, with particular attention to tools provided by synthetic biology for programming biological cooperative systems.
Objective 5. Non-invasive healthcare monitoring. Experimental and computer generated electromagnetic propagation models (e.g., FDTD, FIT) of inside a human body are used to design and inform Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) UWB communications/radar systems. These MIMO systems must overcome relatively large propagation power loss and locate in-body implants with millimetre (mm) precision. Localization of ingestible endoscope capsules and smart pills with mm precision is one of our research targets. Currently, UWB MIMO is not utilized in in-body communications; however, collaborative work enabled by this proposal will contribute to its development. Novelty and outcomes: In-body radio signal propagation is one of the key topics which all partners have focused on from different research angles. Integration and interoperability of in-body communications with on-body or off-body ITC infrastructure is currently a global research challenge. Ultra-low latency and extremely high reliable IoMT architecture to monitor and respond to patients’ medical emergency, will bring numerous advantages. Infrastructures and existing knowhow from different partners will help to achieve the given goals.
Objective 6. Data processing, storage and access. The identification of advanced solutions for the secure exchange, storage and processing of health data is a key research question. Heterogeneous information is sent via a smart hub for short-term processing, to a secure cloud for long-term analysis and sharing. Medical ICT, machine learning, IoT and big data analysis are some of the main areas to be addressed. Novel machine-learning algorithms can also be utilized to automatically classify (medical) data. Novelty and concrete outcomes: Smart algorithms to classify diagnostics from the collected data will be defined, aimed at tracking patient behaviours and identifying patterns, trends, and thresholds that would give an insight into the overall health performance criteria, and dependencies within the underlying datasets.