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Feb 19 2021

Secure and Efficient Internet of Body (IoB) Leveraging Human Body as a Wire and Physical Security


February 19, 2021

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM




Chicago, IL 60607

Secure and Efficient Internet of Body (IoB) Leveraging Human Body as a Wire and Physical Security

Presenter: Shreyas Sen, Purdue University

Abstract: Radiative communication using electro-magnetic (EM) fields is the state of the art for connecting wearable and implantable devices enabling prime applications in the fields of connected healthcare, electroceuticals, neuroscience, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and human computer interaction (HCI), forming a subset of Internet of Things (IoT) called Internet of body (IoB). However, owing to such radiative nature of the traditional wireless communication, EM signals propagate in all directions, inadvertently allowing an eavesdropper to intercept the information. Moreover, since only fraction of the energy is picked up by the intended device, and the need for high carrier frequency compared to information content, wireless communication tends to suffer from poor energy-efficiency (>nJ/bit). Noting that all IoB devices share a common medium, i.e. the human body, utilizing the conductivity of the human body allows low-loss transmission, termed as human body communication (HBC) and improves energy-efficiency. Conventional HBC implementations still suffer from significant radiation compromising physical security and efficiency. Our recent work has developed Electro-Quasistatic Human Body Communication (EQS-HBC), a method for localizing signals within the body using low-frequency transmission, thereby making it extremely difficult for a nearby eavesdropper to intercept critical private data, thus producing a covert communication channel, i.e. the human body as a ‘wire’.

Moreover, Electromagnetic leakages from computing devices make them vulnerable using side-channel attacks, especially for resource-constrained devices in IoT/IoB. In our recent work, we have shown that by understanding the ground up leakage mechanisms and killing such physical leakage using physical lower level countermeasures can lead to orders of magnitude improvement in the security of these devices.

In this talk, I will explore the fundamentals of radio communication around human body to lead to the evolution of EQS-HBC and show recent advancements in the field which has a strong promise to become the future of Body Area Network (BAN), with applications in the fields of HCI, Medical Device Communication and Neuroscience. I will also highlight how physical security can be leveraged to make the IoB node resilient against EM vulnerabilities.

Bio: Shreyas Sen is an associate professor of ECE at Purdue University. He received his PhD in ECE from Georgia Tech. Sen has over five years of industry research experience, at Intel Labs, Qualcomm and Rambus. His current research interests span mixed-signal circuits/systems and electromagnetics for the Internet of Things (IoT), biomedical, and security. Sen is the inventor of the Electro-Quasistatic Human Body Communication, for which he is the recipient of the MIT Technology Review top-10 Indian Inventor Worldwide under 35 (MIT TR35 India) Award. Sen's work has been covered by 250+ news releases worldwide, invited appearance on TEDx Indianapolis, Indian National Television CNBC TV18 Young Turks Program and NPR subsidiary Lakeshore Public Radio. Sen is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award 2020, AFOSR Young Investigator Award 2016, NSF CISE CRII Award 2017, Google Faculty Research Award 2017, Intel Outstanding Researcher Award 2021, Intel Labs Quality Award for industrywide impact on USB-C type, Intel PhD Fellowship 2010, IEEE Microwave Fellowship 2008, and seven best paper awards including IEEE CICC 2019 and IEEE HOST 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Sen's work was chosen as one of the top-10 papers in the Hardware Security field over the past six years (TopPicks 2019). He has co-authored three book chapters, over 160 journal and conference papers, and has 15 patents granted/pending. He serves/has served as an associate editor for IEEE Design & Test, executive committee member of IEEE Central Indiana Section, and technical program committee member of DAC, CICC, DATE, ISLPED, ICCAD, ITC, VLSI Design, among others. Sen is a Senior Member of IEEE.

Faculty host: Amit Trivedi,

This event will not be recorded


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date posted

Feb 19, 2021

Date updated

Feb 19, 2021