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A low power medium access control protocol for wireless medical sensor networks.

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Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens, Greece.


The concept of a wireless integrated network of sensors, already applied in several sectors of our everyday life, such as security, transportation and environment monitoring, can as well provide an advanced monitor and control resource for healthcare services. By networking medical sensors wirelessly, attaching them in patient's body, we create the appropriate infrastructure for continuous and real-time monitoring of patient without discomforting him. This infrastructure can improve healthcare by providing the means for flexible acquisition of vital signs, while at the same time it provides more convenience to the patient. Given the type of wireless network, traditional medium access control (MAC) protocols cannot take advantage of the application specific requirements and information characteristics occurring in medical sensor networks, such as the demand for low power consumption and the rather limited and asymmetric data traffic. In this paper, we present the architecture of a low power MAC protocol, designated to support wireless networks of medical sensors. This protocol aims to improve energy efficiency by exploiting the inherent application features and requirements. It is oriented towards the avoidance of main energy wastage sources, such as idle listening, collision and power outspending.


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