NIST looks for data on human body communications

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has asked industry for ideas on how to develop technology to facilitate interaction between devices via the human touch.

NIST said in a request for information posted Tuesday it seeks greater knowledge and understanding of human body communication tools and how to apply them into future Internet of Things platforms and connected devices.

Human body communication uses extremely low frequency signals to transmit information. The RFI describes it as a baseband signal among low-power devices that are meant to be carried or touched by humans. Some potential uses include consumer electronics, health care and any applications that require high security.

NIST seeks alternatives to the use of radio waves so there is no signal leakage through the air and to be immune from eavesdropping. Human body communication also is intended as not susceptible to radio frequency interference from other nearby devices. Bluetooth and Wifi platforms are susceptible to eavesdropping and interference.

Human body communications’ characteristics have made it attractive to researchers but a lack of understanding of how signals move through the human body has restricted the growth and practical uses of this technology, NIST says.

To study the technology, NIST wants to build a virtual human body. The agency also wants virtual electrodes that correspond to real world electrodes.

NIST is looking for information from companies that have experience with these kinds of technologies.

Responses are limited to 12 pages maximum and must detail if any products described are on any GSA Federal Supply Schedule or other similar governmentwide acquisition contract.

Responses to the RFI are due to NIST by 8 a.m. Eastern time March 30.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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