Magnetoelectric Backscatter Communication for Millimeter-Sized Wireless Biomedical Implants


This paper presents the design, implementation, and experimental evaluation of a wireless biomedical implant platform exploiting the magnetoelectric effect for wireless power and bi-directional communication. As an emerging wireless power transfer method, magnetoelectric is promising for mm-scaled bio-implants because of its superior misalignment sensitivity, high efficiency, and low tissue absorption compared to other modalities. Utilizing the same physical mechanism for power and communication is critical for implant miniaturization, but low-power magnetoelectric uplink communication has not been achieved yet. For the first time, we design and demonstrate near-zero power magnetoelectric backscatter from the mm-sized implants by exploiting the converse magnetostriction effects. The system for demonstration consists of an 8.2-mm3 wireless implantable device and a custom portable transceiver. The implant’s ASIC interfacing with the magnetoelectric transducer encodes uplink data by changing the transducer’s load, resulting in resonance frequency changes for frequency-shift-keying modulation. The magnetoelectrically backscattered signal is sensed and demodulated through frequency-to-digital conversion by the external transceiver. With design optimizations in data modulation and recovery, the proposed system archives > 1-kbps data rate at the 335-kHz carrier frequency, with a communication distance greater than 2 cm and a bit error rate less than 1E-3. Further, we validate the proposed system for wireless stimulation and sensing, and conducted ex-vivo tests through a 1.5-cm porcine tissue. The proposed magnetoelectric backscatter approach provides a path towards miniaturized wireless bio-implants for advanced biomedical applications like closed-loop neuromodulation.

ACM International Conference On Mobile Computing And Networking (MobiCom)
Zhanghao Yu
PhD 2023, now at Intel
Wei Wang
Ph.D. Student (started in 2021)
Zhiyu Chen
Ph.D. Student (started in 2018)
Kaiyuan Yang
Associate Professor of ECE