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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2010;2010:6425-8. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2010.5627327.

Implantable electronics: emerging design issues and an ultra light-weight security solution.

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Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Implantable systems that monitor biological signals require increasingly complex digital signal processing (DSP) electronics for real-time in-situ analysis and compression of the recorded signals. While it is well-known that such signal processing hardware needs to be implemented under tight area and power constraints, new design requirements emerge with their increasing complexity. Use of nanoscale technology shows tremendous benefits in implementing these advanced circuits due to dramatic improvement in integration density and power dissipation per operation. However, it also brings in new challenges such as reliability and large idle power (due to higher leakage current). Besides, programmability of the device as well as security of the recorded information are rapidly becoming major design considerations of such systems. In this paper, we analyze the emerging issues associated with the design of the DSP unit in an implantable system. Next, we propose a novel ultra light-weight solution to address the information security issue. Unlike the conventional information security approaches like data encryption, which come at large area and power overhead and hence are not amenable for resource-constrained implantable systems, we propose a multilevel key-based scrambling algorithm, which exploits the nature of the biological signal to effectively obfuscate it. Analysis of the proposed algorithm in the context of neural signal processing and its hardware implementation shows that we can achieve high level of security with ∼ 13X lower power and ∼ 5X lower area overhead than conventional cryptographic solutions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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