Twin Meander Coil

Sensitive Readout of Battery-free On-body Wireless Sensors Using Body-scale Meander Coils

Energy-efficient and unconstrained wearable sensing platforms are essential for ubiquitous healthcare and activity monitoring applications. This paper presents Twin Meander Coil for wirelessly connecting battery-free on-body sensors to a textile-based reader knitted into clothing. This connection is based on passive inductive telemetry (PIT), wherein an external reader coil collects data from passive sensor coils via the magnetic field. In contrast to standard active sensing techniques, PIT does not require the reader to power up the sensors. Thus, the reader can be fabricated using a lossy conductive thread and industrial knitting machines. Furthermore, the sensors can superimpose information such as ID, touch, rotation, and pressure on its frequency response. However, conventional PIT technology needs a strong coupling between the reader and the sensor, requiring the reader to be small to the same extent as the sensors’ size. Thus, applying this technology to body-scale sensing systems is challenging. To enable body-scale readout, Twin Meander Coil enhances the sensitivity of PIT technology by dividing the body-scale meander-shaped reader coils into two parts and integrating them so that they support the readout of each other. To demonstrate its feasibility, we built a prototype with a knitting machine, evaluated its sensing ability, and demonstrated several applications.

Ryo Takahashi, Wakako Yukita, Takuya Sasatani, Tomoyuki Yokota, Takao Someya, and Yoshihiro Kawahara, “Twin Meander Coil: Sensitive Readout of Battery-free On-body Wireless Sensors Using Body-scale Meander Coils,” Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (ACM IMWUT), Vol. 5, No. 4, Article No. 179, Dec. 2021.