Robust and High-Efficiency Wireless Body Area Networks with Spoof Surface Plasmons on Clothing

The interconnection of sensors into a wireless body area network (WBAN) is critical for emerging health monitoring and medical intervention technologies. However, wireless transmission currently limits the energy efficiency and security of body networks because of its inherently low energy efficiency and vulnerability to eavesdropping. We report a method to create robust and highly efficient wireless body area networks by confining radio-frequency (2.4–2.5 GHz ISM band) electromagnetic waves on clothing that support spoof surface plasmons (SSPs). Such textile-based networks, created by patterning clothing with low-cost conductive textiles, enables high-efficiency propagation of wireless signals by guiding propagation around the curved and dynamic environment of the human body. We experimentally demonstrate more than 30 dB enhancement in signal transmission between wearable Bluetooth devices and improved signal stability during physical activity. Our results enable miniaturized and longer-lasting wireless body sensors and point to potential of clothing in molding wireless signal propagation.