Keynote Speaker – Prof. Tommaso Melodia

Building The Internet of Medical Things Through Implantable Ultrasonic Sensor Networks


Prof. Tommaso Melodia
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Northeastern University, USA

Tommaso Melodia is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University, where he directs the Wireless Networks and Embedded Systems Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007. He had previously received his M.S. in Telecommunications Engineering and Doctorate from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy, in 2001 and 2005. He is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and Computer Networks. His research is currently supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, and local and national industrial partners. He received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and coauthored a paper that was recognized as the “Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Computer Science” by Thomson ISI Essential Science Indicators and a paper that received the “Elsevier Top Cited Paper Award”. His research interests are in modeling, optimization, and experimental evaluation of wireless networks, with applications to ultrasonic intra-body area networks, multimedia sensor networks, underwater networks, cognitive and cooperative networks.



Wirelessly networked systems of implantable sensors and actuators could enable revolutionary new applications with a potential to advance the medical treatment of major diseases of our times. However, most “body area networks” research to date has focused on communications among devices interconnected through traditional electromagnetic radio-frequency (RF) waves (often along the body surface); while the key challenge of enabling networked intra-body miniaturized sensors and actuators that communicate through body tissues is largely unaddressed. The main obstacle is posed by the physical nature of propagation in the human body, which is composed primarily of water a medium through which RF electromagnetic waves do not propagate well.

In this talk, I will give an overview of our ongoing work exploring a different approach, i.e., establishing wireless networks through human tissues by means of acoustic waves at ultrasonic frequencies. We will start off by discussing fundamental aspects of ultrasonic propagation in human tissues and their impact on wireless protocol design at different layers of the protocol stack. We will then discuss our research on designing and prototyping ultrasonic networking protocols through a closed-loop combination of mathematical modeling, simulation, and experimental evaluation. I will also discuss the design and testing of the first Ultrasonic Internet of Medical Things platform.